In England and Wales, park bystanders who feed more than six million loaves of bread yearly to ducks is actually causing grave damages to duck health and pollutes waterways with excess waste. Conservationists warn that oats, corn and peas are safer alternatives if bystanders wish to feed the animals.
The Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency said:
“Large amounts of bread and other human foodstuffs can be harmful to wildfowl, leading to potentially fatal or disabling health conditions. Uneaten food can also cause changes to the chemical and bacteriological content of water, increasing the risk of avian disease.”
According to a survey by the Canal and River Trust, a quarter of English and Welsh people fed six million loaves of bread to ducks the previous year. Uneaten bread had caused algal blooms,which attracts rats and other vermin. This has affected the area’s water quality.
An RSPB Spokeswoman indicated that bread disrupts a duck’s natural, balanced diet.
“White bread in particular has no real nutritional value, so while birds may find it tasty, the danger is that they will fill up on it instead of other foods that could be more beneficial to them,” she said.
“There’s also a risk that ducks and other water fowl could get an illness known as angel wing, which is caused by not getting the right nutrients in their diet. The illness causes a deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them altogether, which could obviously be fatal.”