Most of us were brought up to feed bread to the waterfowl. In the past the birds would migrate away to the fields and waterways to forage for their nutrition. But most of the waterfowl at the McKinley Park pond do not migrate and so do not balance out their nutritional needs in the wilds, leading to many of the birds developing wing deformities.
That’s the message from concerned neighbors who have started an educational campaign to discourage feeding bread and processed human food to ducks in the pond.
East Sacramento Preservation is leading an effort with the City of Sacramento with the assistance of many others in East Sacramento announced a change in the waterfowl management policy at the McKinley Park Pond and any other ponds in Sacramento.
New signage at the pond will explain that the birds should only be fed whole grains and seeds, waterfowl pellets (obtained at feed stores and some pet stores) and peas.
“Breeding season has just started so it is important to get the word out to the public about this important issue to prevent further wing deformities,” stated a news release.
Bread and similar products have no nutritional value for the birds and thus their wing development and growth is affected, suggest volunteers.
Neighborhood volunteers, the Boy Scouts and other groups passed out sample food and informational flyers at the pond during the past few weekends in February.
City of Sacramento recommendations include:
• Don’t overfeed. Take a small bag of whole grain, seeds, waterfowl pellets or peas.
• Pet & feed stores carry fowl scratch, pigeon seed, and waterfowl pellets. This commercial food is nutritionally designed for birds.
• Explain to the kids that the ducks are on a special diet to help them stay healthy.
• Do not throw the feed into the pond, either spread it on the ground or feed from your hand or a shallow bowl. This will help keep the pond cleaner.
-Courtesy of East Sacramento Preservation