Ducks and the Environment
Please Do Not Feed the Ducks
Feeding ducks is tempting. It has been a pastime for generations,
but the more we learn about wild waterfowl, the more we realize how
detrimental feeding them is. Feeding bread, seed, crackers, chips, popcorn or even bird seed to ducks is the equivalent of feeding your child nothing but candy. Ducks like the bread or other food, and will clamor for it much like a child will ask for candy. But the human food has no nutritional value for waterfowl, it fills their stomachs up so that they do not eat the foods they need in order to remain healthy. Birds without proper nutrition can quickly succumb to disease and death. Nutrition is not the only reason we shouldn't feed wild ducks and geese. Feeding wildlife causes many problems, for the ducks and for the environment as well. Artificial feeding is harmful to ducks.
Reasons NOT to Feed the Ducks:
Where birds are fed, more birds will come, usually leading to a crowded situation. More birds mean more droppings. Excess feces cause water pollution, create an unsanitary environment for human recreation, and lead to the spread of disease in the bird population.
Many avian diseases have been attributed to duck feeding. There are documented cases of waterfowl dying from enteritis, aspergillosis, and avian botulism, all due to excess food left floating in the water. These diseases spread quickly throughout populations due to the overcrowded situations that feeding waterfowl causes.
Ducks and geese, although acclimated to humans, are still wild animals and thus unpredictable. Many ducks and geese that get used to humans will become aggressive towards humans and towards each other.
Other Reasons not to feed the ducks human food:
- Causes duckling malnutrition, which can lead to deformities and early death.
- Young ducks do not learn their own foraging skills.
- Bread is not a balanced diet for waterfowl and causes poor nutrition.
- Feeding attracts more ducks than the habitat can support.
- Too many ducks in one place promotes disease.
- Causes a loss of natural behavior, some become more aggressive and some will not survive because they cannot compete.
- Leads to increased pollution and pests.
- Causes delayed migration patterns of waterfowl.
- Feeding areas are unsanitary and harbor diseases.
- Feeding weakens the gene pool.
Most people feed ducks with the best of intentions, not realizing the negative impact of their actions. Now that you know, you can help by not feeding the ducks and by educating other duck lovers.
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