We all see it happen. Maybe someone at the park is throwing bits of stale bread to the ducks and geese. Perhaps someone along the waterfront is throwing french fries to gulls. Or maybe someone at a bus stop is tossing crumbs to pigeons and sparrows.
For whatever reason, we humans seem to have a propensity for sharing our food with other species. While this sharing is driven by fondness and concern, the actual result of such feeding is often negative both for the animals and for the humans with whom they share their space.
Feeding birds things like bread, crackers, French fries, potato chips or other processed foods may lead to digestive difficulties or nutritional deficiencies. Feeding also encourages some species like ducks and geese to congregate in large numbers, fouling parks, ponds and beaches with their droppings. Park visitors’ tolerance soon runs out, often with lethal consequences for the birds.
There are many other reasons not to share your food with wild birds, but the best may be simply that they don’t need it. Although many birds may seem accustomed to human presence, they are still wild animals who are able to feed themselves, and the best way to show your fondness is by allowing them to do just that.
Love—it’s the best gift anyone can receive. At PAWS we share that gift year-round by adopting out thousands of lovable cats and dogs. We’ll be celebrating that gift of love during “Home for the Holidays,” November 19 December 30, 2011.
More pets are brought into households during the holidays than any other time of year, and this year our goal is to clear out the shelter so every adoptable cat and dog gets to start the New Year in a new home!
Fivel, a high energy feline, found his Home for the Holidays during last year’s holiday season. When Fivel was brought in by an animal control officer, he had a severely injured rear leg which had to be amputated. After spending time recuperating in the comfort of a foster home, Fivel was transferred to PAWS Cat City where he ran circles around the other cats despite the fact that he had only three legs. Fivel’s feisty spirit soon attracted a permanent home—he was adopted on November 26, 2010.
As this Steller's Jay demonstrates with the hazelnut he just plucked from a tree, wild birds don't need human handouts to sustain them.