Almost everyone as a child went to the park with leftover bread to feed the ducks. We all marveled at their beauty as they approached and gobbled down the piece of bread. Soon a whole flock of birds would surround the area in hopes of getting some bread.
Sadly, this tradition has declined and ducks and swans are perishing. Many have been found starved to death, so animal welfare charities are asking people to help.
Parks across the UK are posting signs encouraging people to start feeding the starving birds. Across the top of the posters in large letters it states, “It’s OK to feed us bread!”
It goes on to say, “Everyone has stopped feeding us because they wrongly think bread will make us poorly and now some of us are dying of starvation without your bread. Yes, it’s not the healthiest for us but nothing in our bellies will kill us!”
Alongside a picture of two ducks and bread the poster says, “Please feed us again, especially in the winter!”
While bread is not the most nutritious for ducks and swans it is better than nothing. The reason bread was so popular to feed was because it is something that most people had around the house and enough to share. If you are going to feed bread to the birds, the best kind is one with seeds in it. White bread is the least nutritious for birds and humans.
People stopped feeding bread because they heard it was bad for ducks and saw signs that said not to feed it. The Wild Network posted a photo of one of those signs. It states, “Thank you for not feeding us bread. Bread makes us ill, as it does not contain the right nutrition or calories that we need to keep us warm in the winter.”
Instead the sign encourages people to still feed the birds but with more nutritious options. “We do like: half-cut seedless grapes, cooked rice, any type of birdseed, peas, corn, oats, and chopped lettuce.”
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said, “Just like us, swans need a varied diet to stay healthy. Although swans can digest all types of bread, too much can leave them feeling full without giving them all of the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need.”
“So, although bread isn’t harmful our advice is to only feed small amounts to birds.”
So it is time to start a new tradition. Defrost a bag of frozen peas or grab a bag of birdseed and head to the park to help feed the birds. In the hectic world we live in, we could all use a few quiet moments feeding the ducks.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.