MICHAEL PORTILLO’S popular BBC television series ‘Great British Railway Journeys’…
FEEDING BREAD TO DUCKS is a pastime enjoyed by many but it is bad for them, says the Canal & River Trust, who are responsible for more than 2,000 miles of waterways.
Peter Birch, their national environment manager told us: “It is not their natural food and does them more harm than good. A better alternative would be defrosted peas, oats or corn as a healthier alternative”.
Steve Waite of the Devon Birds Organisation told us there are countless tens of thousands of duck in Devon, particularly Mallard (pictured) and these, along with the Mute swan are the birds most likely to turn up at bread feeding times, along with Canada geese.
But other species sometimes mix with bread-feeding wildfowl in parks, lakes and canals. “Wildfowl,” he told us, “have an amazing ability and changing behaviour to match how the whole flock of ducks behave. It wouldn’t take long for, say, a Gadwall in a flock of bread-eating Mallards to behave exactly like all the Mallards, even if it had never eaten bread before in its life”.
So it’s duck and green peas on the Devon menu from now on – hold the bread!