If you want to feed the ducks and geese in Regina, the Wascana Centre Authority (WCA) is asking you to please leave the bread at home.
Sarah Turkeli is the ecologist for the WCA. She explained that they started the ‘Bread is Bad for Me’ campaign last summer, and are renewing the campaign.
She compared bread to candy for humans because it is high in calories and provides no nutritional value for the birds.
While it may seem harmless, she explained the high calorie count in bread is particularly harmful to younger birds when their wings are still developing.
“What ends up happening is a deformity called angel wing,” Turkeli said.
She explained that the young birds grow too fast if they eat too much bread and their wings can’t support their weight properly.
“The last joint at the end (of the wing) ends up twisting and bending outward and the end result can leave them flightless or very hard to fly, which then makes it difficult to migrate and avoid predators.”
Turkeli notes that it’s understandable that the public would want to continue feeding the birds because it’s a good way to get up close to wild water fowl like geese and ducks.
You can still feed the birds but she asks that you ditch the bread in favour of seeds or greens.
“We’ve been promoting the public to kind of stay close to their natural diet, so they would go after vegetation or even small aquatic insects,” Turkeli said. “Appropriate food may be peas, lentils, or almost everyone will have some sort of spinach or lettuce in their home that perhaps they’ve forgotten a little about and they can bring that in for the birds.”
She also encourages people to visit the waterfowl display ponds near the Conexus Arts Centre, where there is a free grain dispensary set up to get barley to feed the birds.
“We do have a swan in the display ponds, a mute swan, and she is a big fan of parsley, so if you ever go there and bring parsley. She will be your best friend,” Turkeli commented.
To learn more about the waterfowl display ponds and the migratory bird sanctuary you can visit the website.