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Feeding the birds? Fun or folly?

By 9 October 2012 28

bird woman

Petrie Plaza’s bird woman had the full attention of Civic’s avian population this lunchtime.

But I do worry for anyone coming along later without intending to feed the birds.

Harmless fun or a bad idea? Your thoughts?

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28 Responses to Feeding the birds? Fun or folly?
#1
Jungle Jim3:47 pm, 09 Oct 12

Terrible idea. Not only is it bad for the birds (wrong food, dependence on humans rather than foraging) but, as you said, the next poor sucker sitting down there for a bite is going to be swamped as if they were eating a bucket of chips at the beach.

#2
Baldy3:49 pm, 09 Oct 12

I hate it when people do this (and that goes for the lady that feeds the cats in Woden if she still does).

For the native wildlife it teaches them bad habits and makes them lazy. For the non-natives it gives them an edge over any native species that don’t parttake in the overly processed delights (i’m talking pidgions here).

People who think with their hearts and not their intelligence when it comes to animals should be barred from interacting with any animal at all.

#3
PM4:01 pm, 09 Oct 12

My good friend likes to feed the birds. I don’t.

But I’ll never forget the time we were on a rooftop beer garden and the publican came over to politely ask him to not feed his chips to the birds.

My friend’s response was that he’d paid for the chips so he could do with them what he liked.

The reaction from the publican was priceless :)

#4
Diggety4:05 pm, 09 Oct 12

S*** everywhere.

#5
FioBla4:06 pm, 09 Oct 12

Teach homeless how to catch birds and cook them. It’s the Ciiiiircle of Liiiife.

Charity (to animals), fat fed animals, personal responsibility, no regulations, less waste. It’s all win win win.

#6
astrojax4:10 pm, 09 Oct 12

what jim said – this is disastrous for the birds’ dietry needs and habits and the practice should be outlawed.

i admit i fed a maggie the other day – but while mowing; threw a snail to it which i’d found in the lawn…

#7
Overheard4:13 pm, 09 Oct 12

Jungle Jim said :

Terrible idea. Not only is it bad for the birds (wrong food, dependence on humans rather than foraging) but, as you said, the next poor sucker sitting down there for a bite is going to be swamped as if they were eating a bucket of chips at the beach.

My biggest problem is the what. I’ve yet to find loaves of Tip Top or Sunblest ultra-processed white bread growing wild.

I’ve reached that time in my life where if I see people by the lake feeding the ducks and swans with processed bread I’ll utlra-politely inform them of the shocking lack of wild-growing White Hi-Fibre Family Loaf. Surprisingly, it usually gets a good response and thanks for pointing this out to them. Whether it results in any behaviour change is debatable.

And admittedly, the last time I did this, I got cornered by two black swans and while one held me down the other hissed in my face, “Beat it, wise-guy. We been workin’ this corner o’ Kingston Foreshore for two years an’ we don’t need no do-good hippie types ruinin’ a good thing. Capiche?”

#8
PM4:19 pm, 09 Oct 12

Overheard said :

Jungle Jim said :

Terrible idea. Not only is it bad for the birds (wrong food, dependence on humans rather than foraging) but, as you said, the next poor sucker sitting down there for a bite is going to be swamped as if they were eating a bucket of chips at the beach.

My biggest problem is the what. I’ve yet to find loaves of Tip Top or Sunblest ultra-processed white bread growing wild.

I’ve reached that time in my life where if I see people by the lake feeding the ducks and swans with processed bread I’ll utlra-politely inform them of the shocking lack of wild-growing White Hi-Fibre Family Loaf. Surprisingly, it usually gets a good response and thanks for pointing this out to them. Whether it results in any behaviour change is debatable.

And admittedly, the last time I did this, I got cornered by two black swans and while one held me down the other hissed in my face, “Beat it, wise-guy. We been workin’ this corner o’ Kingston Foreshore for two years an’ we don’t need no do-good hippie types ruinin’ a good thing. Capiche?”

Haha – gold :)

Still can’t tell if the woman in the photo is actually feeding the birds or whether she’s been cornered by them!

I guess if you don’t like a person, you could tail them, then run up and dump a whole bag of chips over them!

#9
astrojax4:21 pm, 09 Oct 12

Overheard said :

And admittedly, the last time I did this, I got cornered by two black swans and while one held me down the other hissed in my face, “Beat it, wise-guy. We been workin’ this corner o’ Kingston Foreshore for two years an’ we don’t need no do-good hippie types ruinin’ a good thing. Capiche?”

i thought the swan mafia was nearer the adelaide avenue bridge, south side…?

#10
c_c4:26 pm, 09 Oct 12

Well I would say in this case, urbanised magpies and pigeons, that the harm is already done, has long ago being done, and she probably isn’t doing much more harm.

Same thing with the seagulls at Bateman’s Bay who had a taste for hot chips… and as I found on a few occasions would soon crowd the promenade 50 deep when I walked by with said chips.

But I would generally advise against it.

#11
Overheard4:39 pm, 09 Oct 12

astrojax said :

Overheard said :

And admittedly, the last time I did this, I got cornered by two black swans and while one held me down the other hissed in my face, “Beat it, wise-guy. We been workin’ this corner o’ Kingston Foreshore for two years an’ we don’t need no do-good hippie types ruinin’ a good thing. Capiche?”

i thought the swan mafia was nearer the adelaide avenue bridge, south side…?

The Crips have got the Acton Ferry Terminal, and the Bloods have just moved in on the Lennox Gardens patch. I have very engaging chats with the magpies in Garema Place. Most of them are quite engaging on how the area has evolved over time. I’ll ask them about their dietary predilections next time I’m over there.

#12
RSPCA_Comms5:39 pm, 09 Oct 12

Previous comments have pretty much covered the issues with feeding native birds, but here is some more detailed information.

*(From a previous RSPCA ACT Facebook post) A common misconception is that waterbirds can eat bread and are often fed leftovers of peoples lunches. But the truth about bread is it can have horrible effects on these birds, and often we see them suffer or perish from malnutrition. Bread is devoid of the nutrients waterbirds need to survive. It gives the birds a false sense of fullness, stopping them from seeking out their natural foods. This leaves them with nutritional deficiencies and abnormalities. This can cause them to become weak and unable to forage for food on their own, leaving them even more dependent on humans. We had a case where a waterbird had eaten bread on land, then moved to the water to have a long cool drink, causing the bread to swell. The bird unfortunately suffocated as the bread expanded in its throat.

There are still many great foods you can feed to waterbirds instead, such as lettuce, silverbeet and spinach. These foods more closely mimic their natural diet, and contain essential nutrients. So next time you go to a lake to feed the birds, grab a head of lettuce, not a loaf of bread.The birds will be forever grateful!*

RSPCA ACT would like to see signage erected around lakes and ponds in Canberra advising people of the do’s and don’t’s of feeding waterbirds because most people simply don’t realise how dangerous it can be.

Feeding birds in your backyard also poses problems, particularly for parrots. You can read a blog post about it here http://rspca-act.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/killing-with-kindness.html

The photo of the bird on a wire was taken in my own backyard, and it was a terrible sight to see, knowing that this bird would likely starve to death.

Please spread the word!

Thanks,

RSPCA ACT

#13
Jivrashia8:04 pm, 09 Oct 12

RSPCA_Comms said :

RSPCA ACT would like to see signage erected around lakes and ponds in Canberra advising people of the do’s and don’t’s of feeding waterbirds because most people simply don’t realise how dangerous it can be.

Please spread the word!

Try free screenings of Hitchcock’s movie.
It worked for me.

#14
kakosi10:24 pm, 09 Oct 12

OMG how ridiculous is the world now when people can’t even throw a few “breadcrumbs” without being judged.

If you really want to worry about wildlife getting out of hand visit the lake and check out the nice population explosion of fruit bats complete with rabies-type virus. No people feeding them.

#15
TallBoy11:21 pm, 09 Oct 12

FioBla said :

Teach homeless how to catch birds and cook them. It’s the Ciiiiircle of Liiiife.

Charity (to animals), fat fed animals, personal responsibility, no regulations, less waste. It’s all win win win.

Ahh yes… Give a homeless man a bird and he eats for a day. Teach a homeless man to catch birds and he eats for a lifetime… Some day we’ll all look back and wonder why this wasn’t done sooner.

#16
Overheard11:51 pm, 09 Oct 12

kakosi said :

OMG how ridiculous is the world now when people can’t even throw a few “breadcrumbs” without being judged.

If you really want to worry about wildlife getting out of hand visit the lake and check out the nice population explosion of fruit bats complete with rabies-type virus. No people feeding them.

Do you have problems with reading and comprehension? It’s harmful to the birds’ digestive systems.

Do you need a picture?

#17
c_c12:03 am, 10 Oct 12

kakosi said :

OMG how ridiculous is the world now when people can’t even throw a few “breadcrumbs” without being judged.

haha, oh you remind me of some yank tourist once in a video. Some footage from a hotel when the Boxing Day Tsunami hit, all around the hotel they could see people and property being swept away and drowned, and the yank on the balcony pipes up “Oh damn, we won’t be able to go on that tour we booked”

#18
Baldy9:09 am, 10 Oct 12

c_c said :

kakosi said :

OMG how ridiculous is the world now when people can’t even throw a few “breadcrumbs” without being judged.

haha, oh you remind me of some yank tourist once in a video. Some footage from a hotel when the Boxing Day Tsunami hit, all around the hotel they could see people and property being swept away and drowned, and the yank on the balcony pipes up “Oh damn, we won’t be able to go on that tour we booked”

Wow. They really said that? Do you still have a link?

#19
TheDancingDjinn10:23 am, 10 Oct 12

kakosi said :

OMG how ridiculous is the world now when people can’t even throw a few “breadcrumbs” without being judged.

If you really want to worry about wildlife getting out of hand visit the lake and check out the nice population explosion of fruit bats complete with rabies-type virus. No people feeding them.

Oh wow – this comment was so stupid it hurt me. IT HURTS THEM capiche’ how hard is it? if it is so important that people share food with local birds then for Christs sake give them the salad that most of you throw away anyway. and could you please link where you got the info that every fruit bat here is infested with the rabies virus? because i call a tad bit of bullshit on that. i feed all the birds in my area, i hand feed currawongs, and magpies – i found out what was healthy for them before i did it, then i made my food for them accordingly – magpies need a high calcium and high protein diet – currwongs are pretty much the same, but need more protein and are partial to a tiny bit of fatty stuff. Swans eat salad and i assure you i have had mobs of swans leave the hands of bread throwers just to come eat my salad i get ready for them. if you are kind enough to care if they eat, be kind enough to care if they die from what you feed them.

#20
Tooks11:11 am, 10 Oct 12

kakosi said :

OMG how ridiculous is the world now when people can’t even throw a few “breadcrumbs” without being judged.

If you really want to worry about wildlife getting out of hand visit the lake and check out the nice population explosion of fruit bats complete with rabies-type virus. No people feeding them.

Translation: F&*k the birds’ health, I’ll feed them what I want. As long as I find it enjoyable, who cares?

As far as the ‘exposion’ of bats with lyssavirus, I’ll assume you’re talking out of your back mouth.

#21
Pitchka11:14 am, 10 Oct 12

Most people will whinge that they are pests, you cant eat without them surrounding you blah blah, so feeding them food that could ultimately kill them is a win win isnt it.

#22
Gantz11:45 am, 10 Oct 12

Pitchka said :

Most people will whinge that they are pests, you cant eat without them surrounding you blah blah, so feeding them food that could ultimately kill them is a win win isnt it.

Why are you being surrounded when eating? I want to think you know why. Sit in the corner, give it a little thought, I will give you permission to read over the thread, see if you can understand what is being said.

#23
astrojax2:08 pm, 10 Oct 12

TallBoy said :

FioBla said :

Teach homeless how to catch birds and cook them. It’s the Ciiiiircle of Liiiife.

Charity (to animals), fat fed animals, personal responsibility, no regulations, less waste. It’s all win win win.

Ahh yes… Give a homeless man a bird and he eats for a day. Teach a homeless man to catch birds and he eats for a lifetime… Some day we’ll all look back and wonder why this wasn’t done sooner.

give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. teach a man to fish and he’ll kick back with his mates knocking back stubbies in the sun as often as he can escape the missus and billies… :)

#24
Pitchka3:55 pm, 10 Oct 12

Gantz said :

Pitchka said :

Most people will whinge that they are pests, you cant eat without them surrounding you blah blah, so feeding them food that could ultimately kill them is a win win isnt it.

Why are you being surrounded when eating? I want to think you know why. Sit in the corner, give it a little thought, I will give you permission to read over the thread, see if you can understand what is being said.

I for one, love the attention our feathered friends bring… I shall continue feeding them the jalapeno’s and spanish onions those silly sandwich artists from Subway keep putting into my footlong despite my asking them not to…

I often wait till all the birds congregate close to my feet, at which point i close my eyes, slowly raise my arms and scream “Arrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”… The birds shit themselves (pardon the pun) Its not long till the local hotties in there short tight mini skirts flashing their APS name tags look over, at which point i start throwing winks and kisses willy nilly.

Say hi next time wont you.

#25
Holditz5:55 pm, 10 Oct 12

I would suggest the only time to feed wild birds is to feed potentially dangerour magpies during the swooping season. Magpies are intelligent birds and will remember those who are kind to it. Feeding these birds will show you show no harm and are friendly. Obviously don’t feed magpies that show no inclination of swooping, such as the nesting pair near my house. They’re pretty cool with the locals, with a park and playground next door and plenty of human and dog activity going on.

#26
m@10:35 am, 11 Oct 12

Those magpies in Petrie Plaza were pretty aggressive a while back, swooping and flapping in your face then trying to snatch food from your hand… They don’t seem as bad now, which makes me wonder if some of the worst offenders have been ‘relocated’.

#27
Mysteryman5:41 pm, 11 Oct 12

PM said :

My good friend likes to feed the birds. I don’t.

But I’ll never forget the time we were on a rooftop beer garden and the publican came over to politely ask him to not feed his chips to the birds.

My friend’s response was that he’d paid for the chips so he could do with them what he liked.

The reaction from the publican was priceless :)

I hope the publican told your friend to leave the premises. I would have.

#28
Antagonist6:46 pm, 11 Oct 12

Overheard said :

I’ve reached that time in my life where if I see people by the lake feeding the ducks and swans with processed bread I’ll utlra-politely inform them of the shocking lack of wild-growing White Hi-Fibre Family Loaf.

Don’t be offended if, sooner or later, sombeody ultra-politely tells you to f#%$ off.

I was happily enjoying my lunch outside the library at UC on Tuesday when a magpie came up to say hello. I made a point of keeping a small piece of ham from my sanger to give to him/her after I had finished eating. I stood up, gave the youngster the piece of ham and proceeded to walk away. The other students in the area sh!t their pants when about 10 magpies came tearing in looking for their share. Freakin hilarious :)

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