WITH spring getting into full swing residents across the region have been urged not to feed bread to ducks as it is not as good for their health as many people think.
The advice comes from the Canal and River Trust, a charity which cares for more than 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.
As well as increasing ducks’ waistlines, the uneaten soggy bread can cause a build-up of bad nutrients which can lead to greater algae growth, spread disease and encourage pests such as rats.
Instead, kind-hearted residents can feed their feathered friends healthier snacks, such as seeds, fruit and vegetables.
The charity has released data which shows a ten per cent drop in the number of people feeding ducks bread in the West Midlands – down from 64 per cent to 54 per cent.
Despite the positive changes however and the overwhelming public response over the last 12 months, there’s still work to be done as a hefty 3.5million loaves of bread are still being thrown into canals, rivers, ponds and lakes every year and potentially polluting the environment.
Paul Wilkinson, senior ecologist for the Canal and River Trust, said: “We’re really pleased with the public response to our campaign so far and the way people in the West Midlands are changing their duck feeding habits.
“However there’s still work to be done and still too much bread is being dumped in the waterways.
“We need more people to get the word out and encourage everyone to feed the ducks sensibly.
“It only takes a few simple changes such as swapping bread for healthy food that is closer to a duck’s natural diet – like oats, corn or peas. If everyone avoids going to the same duck-feeding hotspots and exercises portion control that would also make a big difference.”
The Trust’s waterways host hundreds of thousands of ducks and other waterfowl and the charity takes its responsibility of keeping their homes safe very seriously. It wants the millions of people who enjoy the much loved family tradition of feeding the ducks to be able to enjoy it for generations to come.
Throwing bread into a canal or river can create overcrowding of bird populations, as the birds will flock to the same location in search of their starchy treat.
Too many ducks or waterfowl in one place can stress the birds and lead to their habitats being damaged. It also creates excessive amounts of bird droppings which, along with being smelly and slippery underfoot, can reduce water quality and clog waterways with harmful algae.
The charity is giving away a free booklet packed with tips on the right food to feed the ducks which includes lots of activities for children. To receive this, along with your free Quack Snack pouch to store your healthy duck treats, Text QUEST to 70123
Visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/ducks for more information on what to feed ducks.