We’re lucky to have so many beautiful parks and ponds in Flower Mound, and as you’re out exploring them this summer, you’re destined to run into ducks and geese. Feeding ducks is tempting, and many of us grew up thinking it was an environmentally responsible and generous way to dispose of old or stale bread. However, feeding ducks and geese is actually unhealthy and potentially dangerous for the birds.
Bread and similar products, including crackers, chips, doughnuts, and popcorn, have little nutritional value. These products can fill up their stomachs to the point that they don't eat the foods they need to remain healthy, and birds without proper nutrition can quickly succumb to disease and death.
Feeding ducks and geese can also lead to other problems, including:
- Overcrowding — Where birds are fed, more birds will come. And when food is easy to come by, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs, and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases territorial aggression, especially during mating season.
- Diseases – More birds mean more droppings. Excess feces cause water pollution, create an unsanitary environment for human recreation, and lead to the spread of disease in the bird population. Many avian diseases have been attributed to duck feeding. There are documented cases of waterfowl dying from enteritis, aspergillosis, and avian botulism, all due to excess food left floating in the water.
- Pollution — Uneaten bread causes algae growths, pollution, and can eventually eradicate fish and other life in the vicinity.
- Attraction of pests — Rotting leftover food attracts other unwelcome pests, such as rats, mice, and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans.
Ducks and geese will live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources, such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses, and insects. So even if you mean well, please do not feed our waterfowl friends!