Feeding birds bread or other food matter in your local lake or wetland can be detrimental to their survival. When we feed birds in our local wetlands we can unintentionally harm them and pollute their homes. Water birds in particular are adapted to their watery homes with specialised beaks or bills for feeding. Wild birds are meant to look after themselves relating to their health, survival and their natural environment.
Sickness and disease
Just like humans, birds can’t digest some foods. Birds can become malnourished and sick by eating ‘human’ food like bread rather than natural food sources like insects, snails and worms. Rotting bread in the water can also lead to more sickness and the spread of disease.
Birds can become dependent on human feeding and can concentrate in high numbers around wetlands and lakes. This can lead to aggressive behaviour, overpopulation and even delay migration patterns. Young birds can die if they lack skills to forage for food. Overpopulation then leads to over grazing, the spread of disease, loss of offspring and crowding out of other species’ breeding sites.
Uneaten decaying bread and other food matter can cause a build-up of nutrients (eutrophication). It only takes 1-2 grams of phosphorus from bread to affect water quality. Excess nutrients are linked to:
- Algal blooms (including toxic blue-green algae) and aquatic weeds
- Botulism and other bird diseases spreading between wetlands
- Decreases in water quality
- Reduction in dissolved oxygen leading to fish kills and other fauna deaths
- Reduced animal and plant diversity.
There are a number of ways to interact with birds, including:
- Bird watching - use the map under the documents list below to locate wetlands for bird watching in the City of Cockburn. Grab some binoculars and get spotting!
- Plant a native garden - native gardens full of flowers are one of the best ways to attract birds. Flowering plants attract insects also which encourages even more birds!
- Build a bird bath – the City offers bird baths rebates. Bush birds like honeyeaters love to frolic in bird baths. Remember to locate the bath off the ground away from predators and clean it regularly!
Please help our birds feed themselves!
Please contact Native ARC
for assistance if you see an injured native bird.
Please contact Environmental Services for more information on birds on 08 9411 3444 or at email@example.com
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