Many bird enthusiasts get their first interactions with birds by feeding the ducks and geese at local ponds. Knowing how to provide them with healthy diets will not only be beneficial to local waterfowl populations, it will also allow future generations of people to enjoy the same pastime.
White bread, the most common food that is fed to local waterfowl, is also the least nutritious and causes a number of health issues including a debilitating disease called Angel Wing. The Angel Wing condition is brought on as a result of a high-calorie diet, one extremely high in protein and carbohydrates, and low in Vitamins D, E and Manganese. This low nutrient diet causes the feathers to grow at a faster rate than the rest of their body, causing the bird’s wings to point out laterally, rather than resting against the body, leaving the bird flightless and vulnerable to predators.
Ducks and Geese are omnivorous, meaning they eat food from both animal and plant origin. So feeding them foods high in nutrients, minerals and vitamins that would be similar to the natural insects, mollusks, seeds, grains, and plants they would find in the wild, keep them healthy and happy. Below are listed alternatives to white bread that allow you to enjoy a day of feeding the waterfowl at your local park!
– Melanie Ripley, Wednesday AM Shift Leader