Don’t feed the waterfowl

I believe in oneness of mankind and of all living things and in the interdependence of each and all. I believe that unless we play fair to the Earth, we cannot exist physically on this planet. Unless we play fair to our neighbour, we cannot exist socially or internationally. Unless we play fair to better self, there is no individuality and no leadership. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker.


Don’t feed the waterfowl

Don’t feed the waterfowl, and the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals goes on to say; Never feed ducks, geese, swans, gulls, herons or eagles.It’s a fine line to walk, between  “Feed the Birds Day on February 3”  and  not feeding the ducks.

If you do use a bird feeder for migratory birds, place them safely away from domesticated animals such as dogs and cats, and do not allow the ground feed spilled out of feeders to habituate rodents.

“There is a risk that ducks and other waterfowl can get an illness known as angel wing, which is caused by not getting the right nutrients in their diet.

“The illness causes as deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them altogether, which could obviously be fatal,” said Harry Bellows from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. RSPB says, “Uneaten, rotting food left by ducks can trigger noxious odours and fuel algae that can eventually eradicate fish from the area, as well as attracting rats, mice and insects.

“Mouldy bread can also cause aspergillosis a fatal lung infection that can wipe out waterfowl in flocks.”Foster

Artificial feeding sites can cause outbreaks in wildlife of Duck Virus Enteritis, Aspergillus, and Avian Botulism. Additionally these feeding sites can attract a parasite which causes Swimmer’s Itch in humans.

Besides recognizing these health risks and diseases, there are more reasons not to feed the ducks. Receiving food from humans results in changes in the behavior of waterfowl. The natural areas become overcrowded where feeding occurs, and the native eco-system cannot support the over-run of ducks and geese. Due to the groups and the larger numbers of ducks and geese, a health risk mounts up from excess droppings which increases the risk of disease.

He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Furthermore, waterfowl may even decide not to migrate, relying on the food source from humans, and are trapped by the cold winter. For those waterfowl who do not migrate, they are at risk of dying when the winter temperatures drop to -40 Celsius and below, and there is a drop in human feeders.

The adult waterfowl addicted to bread stop teaching their young how to forage in the wild. The ducklings and goslings, then know only a life of seeking food from humans, and cannot survive in a natural setting. Therefore, waterfowl who rely on humans for food will cluster around human outdoor activities in parks, humans and parking lots without knowledge of domestic animals such as dogs and cats and vehicles on roadways.

Additionally relying on handouts of bread leads to severe duckling and gosling mal-nourishment as bread does not have the necessary nutrients to stave off disease or support a healthy body.

“Wild animals who get used to a handout will often take the easy route despite ample natural foods being available – even in urban areas,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, chief scientific officer for the BC SPCA. “Although it might seem harmless and cute to feed a squirrel on a park bench or ducks at the local pond, these activities can lead to increased habituation.”

“Habituated wild animals are also more susceptible to predators and vehicle collisions, as they lose their fear of people and the associated flight response.”BC SPCA

Foods that should never be fed to ducks include:

  • Bread
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Biscuits
  • Sugary food including sweets and chocolates
  • Cereal
  • Sweets
  • Mouldy food

Over-wintering waterfowl in the region of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan may, as an exception, include Greater White-fronted Goose, Ring-necked Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Greater Scaup, Snow Goose, Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Red-necked Grebe, Sora, American Coot, Canada Goose, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Canvasback, Redhead, and Ruddy Duck. If you are patient and still and happen to recognize these waterfowl, please do not feed them.  Especially not in or near an off leash recreation area. The waterfowl of Chappel Marsh – the West Swale Wetlands – should not be habituated to humans. They should rely on their natural insticts to not approach humans.

I believe in oneness of mankind and of all living things and in the interdependence of each and all. I believe that unless we play fair to the Earth, we cannot exist physically on this planet. Unless we play fair to our neighbour, we cannot exist socially or internationally. Unless we play fair to better self, there is no individuality and no leadership. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker.

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page:
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Twitter: StBarbeBaker
July 9, 2016 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area CLEAN UP Day PAMPHLET

Our task must be to free ourselves … by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.~Albert Einstein


Beitz, Mike. Don’t feed the birds. The Beacon Herald. Aug. 9, 2016.

Don’t feed the duck bread, say conservationists. The Guardian. Environment.

Don’t feed the Ducks. Saint John.

Don’t feed the animals. British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. BC SPCA. July 22, 2014

Foster, Alice. What you should NEVER feed to ducks: Six things including BREAD. Express Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. April 6, 20165
Four reasons why feeding bread to ducks is stupid. CBC News. May 24, 2015

Greason, Chet. Duck Feeding Ban passed Despite Protest. Stratford Gazette. August 10, 2016

Is Feeding Ducks Bread Bad? January 20, 2017.
Don’t feed the ducks Mass Audubon. Protecting the Nature of Massachusetts.

McLendon, Russell. 3 Reasons why you shouldn’t feed bread to ducks. Mother Earth Network. November 18, 2015.

Podbielski, Ron. Don’t feed the wildlife. Saskatchewan Environment. Government of Saskatchewan. January 19, 2017.

Rockwood Park ducks refuse to fly south as feeding continues. Naturalist urges Rockwood Park visitors to feed ducks fruits and vegetables, not bread, if they do bring food. CBC News. Feb. 12, 2015

Saskatchewan Birding Trail Experience (pdf)

Seriously, Stop Feeding Wild Animals. DNews. Aug 28, 2016.

Stop Feeding Waterfowl. Department of Environmental Conservation. New York State.

Winter, Lisa. The Disturbing Reasons You Shouldn’t Feed Bread To Ducks
We can’t live on bread alone, and neither can they.
A-Plus. March, 21, 2015

Why you Should Never Feed Bread to Ducks. IFL Science

Zsivanovits, Petra, Deborah J. Monks, and Neil A. Forbes. Bilateral Valgus Deformity of the Distal Wings (Angel Wing) in a Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 20(1):21-26. 2006

Author: stbarbebaker

This website is about the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area - an urban regional park of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The hosts are the stewards of the afforestation area. The afforestation area received its name in honour of the great humanitarian, Richard St. Barbe Baker. Richard St. Barbe Baker (9 October 1889 – 9 June 1982) was an English forester, environmental activist and author, who contributed greatly to worldwide reforestation efforts. As a leader, he founded an organization, Men of the Trees, still active today, whose many chapters carry out reforestation internationally. {Wikipedia} Email is StBarbeBaker AT to reach the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

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