Feed the birds
is that a good idea?
For our great pleasure, our wild birds are back on our lakes.
Like many humans, the ducks and geese easily get hooked on easily accessible food. They are cute and fun to watch and are always keen to come and eat some bread or grain.
But what are the consequences of this attraction to us and our treats?
Consequences for the environment
Most of the time, people use bread or poultry feeds to feed the ducks and geese. This kind of food is not adapted to their needs and as a result, the ducks droppings represent a major source of pollution to the lake and river. Like humans, ducks only assimilate a part of the nutritional elements and their dejections become an excellent nutrient for algae.
Just so you know, the quantity of phosphorus produced by an aviary population is of 31kg/ton compared to a 3kg/ton for a porcine population.
For our lake’s sake, let’s not feed the ducks and geese.
Consequences for humans
By feeding the ducks, we concentrate an abnormal number of birds in the same space. Please know that a duck produces 5 times more fecal coliforms per day than a human.Bird droppings contaminate the snails on the lakeshore , the snails cercariae (little larvae almost invisible to humans) are freed and are recycled in the birds bodies.
Unfortunately, cercariae do not distinguish the difference between birds and humans and they penetrate the swimmers’ skin who develop cercarial dermatitis. This illness is characterised by red spots that swell to resemble insect bites.
A pretty powerful itching will ensue and last up to ten days.
For the wellbeing of humans, let’s not feed ducks and geese.
Consequences for the ducks and geese
By nourishing them, we create a dependence, and little by little, the birds will loose their capacity to find their own food. At fall, when the birds should be migrating, they hang around because they still find food, they then risk death from malnourishment or cold. . Having lost their fear of humans, they become easy prey for hunters or natural predators. Bread is a poor quality substitute to the food they normally eat.
For their wellbeing, let’s refrain from feeding them.
– “Protéger et restaurer les lacs” Robert Lapalme édition: Bouquins Verts
– C.I.C. Canards Illimités Canada
– Santé et Services sociaux Québec “Quand la dermatite du baigneur apparaît”