Monday, July 21, 2008

Joe replies to bird-feeding criticism

Regular readers may have noticed criticism of bird feeding on the River Nairn in the comments of another post. Wildlife campaigner Joe has sent the Gurn a reply.

'In reply to spelding anon and co, You are preaching to the converted as far as feeding wildlife is concerned.
Interestingly enough during the 5 years i have been feeding the birds, their numbers have grown at least 10 fold..duck wise anyway.
Must be all that porridge oats and wholemeal they've been getting, along with raw sewage from the merryton bridge area !
The Swans, in addition to their natural food when available, get spinach, fresh grass, dandelion leaves, and wholemeal bread.
They seem to be thriving on it, and i have no worries about them being deprived of nutrients from me !
Maybe spelding could contact the RSPB and give them my 5 years experience for free, and add the fresh grass and dandelion leaves to their swan good food list ?
I have tried them also with potatoes, carrots and lettuce...other than the odd bit of potato skin they dont fancy it.
I do educate people as and when the opportunity arises, even though it draws some criticism and annoyance from some.
Done correctly and with skill, supplementing the wild birds food supply can increase their numbers and harmony between humans and the natural world.
The river and harbour would be a sadder place if there was little or no wildlife.
In the UK there are around 20,000 pairs of Mute swans, and 60 million people...it would suit me if those numbers were reversed!
We are fortunate to have a single pair in the river nairn and 4 cygnets, i for one will make sure they have a better diet than i have !'

1 comment:

iRight said...

Killing me softly with your love…

Joe’s Bird Menu – for the water birds of Nairn river & harbour

Starters you could naturally provide yourself
Fresh grass
Dandelion leaves

Main courses exclusive from Joe’s kitchen
Porridge oats
Whole meal bread
Spinach
Potatoes
Carrots
Lettuce
Potato skin

Deserts
All the foods you might obtain naturally in your habitat

Joe means well. He might prefer to be a mute swan but meanwhile in his human form he feeds Nairn’s water birds. Joe knows that birds need good food and maybe for that reason he doesn’t feed them white bread, but a whole list of items Joe considers good for them. Trouble is the only real gourmet meals for our water birds are those which they find naturally; humans should know that, wild birds don’t.
As Joe has noticed the duck population has increased. Human feeding can do this and often produces an imbalance in the sexes. We are not seeing a wild population here but a man made one. Other problems arise, that of disease, poor health, and shortened life span. The health of the birds is in question when they eat anything other than their natural foods. If they want to nibble grass and dandelion leaves they will.
A search around the Internet provides a rake of information all of which gives out the clear message ‘don’t feed the birds’. Here for example are a couple of sites:
http://www.keyferrycruises.co.uk/wildfowl.pdf
http://www.liveducks.com/bread.html

Joe you mean well but please stop feeding the birds!