Killing them softly …

No thanks – we just ate

Why we really shouldn’t feed water birds

We’re very lucky in Wolverhampton, almost all of our park users understand the reasons why it’s not a good idea to feed the water birds that live in, on or around our lakes and waterways.  Take our very own West Park, for instance – we often receive enquiries asking why we actively discourage feeding of the water birds … 

Water birds of West Park

Water birds of West Park

Melanie Pearson in a recent article on the subject compared “Feeding bread to ducks and geese is the equivalent of feeding your child nothing but sweeties.  Ducks and geese like bread and will clamour for it as much as a child will ask for sweets.  However, bread 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 will quickly succumb to disease and death”.

Feeding can cause …

  • Overcrowding
  • aggression/unnatural behaviour
  • Pollution
    • water pollution
    • unsanitary environment
    • spread of disease for bird population
      • enteritis
      • aspergillosis
      • avian botulism

We have many Canada Geese at West Park.  If we care about the birds we won’t feed them; but rather let them find their own food as they are wild water birds.  Although if our visitors would like to bring specially prepared grain available at pet stores suitable for the wild birds, this would be fine.

One of the major conditions affecting these birds is Angel Wing – a nasty condition sometimes known as ‘Slipped Wing’ which is a disease that affects waterfowl, primarily geese and ducks.  The condition results in the last joint of the wing being twisted with the wing feathers outpointing (rather than laying flat against the body in a bird with no such condition).

It is more common in males than females but is entirely due to humans feeding what the birds consider unnatural or artificial food (ie bread).  In adult birds the disease is incurable and can lead to early death following grounding.

So even though we think it a pleasure to feed the birds in the park, please don’t because we really will be killing them with kindness.

If you are a keen photographer, you can check us out on Flickr and contribute your pictures to our Wolverhampton’s Great Outdoors Flickr Group.

Until next time – enjoy ‘Wolverhampton’s Great Outdoors’.



About wolvesparkies

Wilf is the online presence of Wolverhampton Parks and is written by members of the Parks Team. We are passionate about our parks and we love to meet all of the people that it belongs to. After all, we are only the custodians of all of our green and open spaces.
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2 Responses to Killing them softly …

  1. Colin Carr says:

    Super post Wilf. Will put this on Tettenhall’s FB and website for you.

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