Going to the park has been my favorite thing to do for pretty much 27.5 of my 27.5 years of life. Okay so I don’t really remember age 0-3. But my youngest memory I have is from pre-school, age 4, at the playground, the day I learned how to swing. As I went on to elementary & middle school, I looked forward to P.E. & recess for playground time during the wk, & I was often found riding my bike or playing soccer at the park on the wkends. Even most of my teenage years were spent parked at the park, but we won’t go there, haha. As an adult I still very much enjoy park days…
My Husband & I went to a park as part of our very first date over a decade ago, & ever since it’s been one of our top “day date” locations. We enjoy bringing our dogs with us, going for walks, having picnics, even playing on the playground. We also enjoy watching the wildlife. At the parks we frequent, we can see fish, turtles, squirrels, rabbits, & many different types of birds. The most common birds we see are water fowl; ducks & geese. These birds are quite popular with park go-ers who frequently feed them, most commonly bread. While their intentions are kind, bread is actually quite harmful to them. While a smidgen of bread here & there would not be detrimental to the birds, the fact that multiple people may feed them bread every day is. Allow me to explain why…
Bread is quite filling for birds, & the frequency at which people feed them means that their diet can consist of mostly bread. This is a problem because bread does not contain the most vital nutrients that birds need, thus they can become malnourished.
A diet irregularly high in carbs can cause a deformity in birds known as “angel wing”. This deformity is classified by the last joint in one or both wings unnaturally twisting outward as opposed to laying flat against the birds body. Birds with angel wing are unable to fly, which is more than just a mode of transportation for them, it is their main method of defense.
It is common for people to feed ducks bread that has gone bad, this may include mold. Moldy bread can cause a respiratory disease known as aspergillosis. Aspergillosis causes numerous symptoms which can include; difficulty breathing, tremors, paralysis, & even death.
Feeding attracts birds in unnatural numbers. When an area becomes overcrowded, birds can run out of healthy food sources, as well as room & are therefore more likely to become food & territory aggressive, which is not good.
Feeding bread to birds significantly contributes to water pollution in the form of fecal coliform bacteria, which then leads to an overgrowth of algae known as an “algae bloom. Too much algae can block sunlight from entering the water, which can have harmful effects on fish & other aquatic life.
If you feel you absolutely “must” feed birds, there are healthier options, such as grapes cut in half, shredded lettuce, oats & of course duck pellets. HOWEVER, it truly is best to just let birds rely on their natural food sources that way they do not become dependent on humans & lose their natural instincts, which are their instincts for a reason! And if you’ve fed birds in the past, I know you didn’t mean any harm. I too have fed birds in the past before I knew the facts. The facts are unfortunately not “common knowledge”, but that’s why I feel like I need to share what I’ve learned & hope that others will do the same, for the sake of the birds!