The risks of feeding wild birds

Cockatoos nesting in a palm. Photo by Marian Sampson.


MANY of us have looked to nature in recent times for relaxation and pleasure.

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Some have been enjoying feeding the local wild birds.

However, for our wild birds to stay healthy they need to eat the right foods.

Some are nectar feeders, others eat seeds and some eat bugs and small animals.

Laurence Penman of National Parks told News Of The Area, “We discourage people from feeding wild birds mainly due to health impacts on the birds and nuisance caused to neighbours.”

The NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment say, “Generally, it is not okay to feed wildlife.

The moment’s pleasure which you enjoy while watching the birds feed may result in future problems for animals and people.”

Processed seeds, bread and other foods that are not part of an animal’s natural diet can make them very sick.

There is a potential knock on effect where birds that expect to be fed by people can become aggressive, harassing people for food when they are hungry.

Furthermore, hand-feeding can result in the transfer of illness both to and from the animal.

Birds fed by people may also lose their ability to forage for natural foods.

Sustainable Gardening Australia tells us that while putting out seeds is out; creating a permanent water supply is in.
You can also plant to bring the birds in.

Sustainable Gardening Australia recommends a backyard planted with botanic biodiversity as this is more likely to attract a variety of birds, especially if the plants are locally native.

They recommend planting strata layers of vegetation to create a habitat.

The more variety you can provide in the size and selection of plants you grow, the greater the variety of birds and animals you may see turning up at your place.

Different vegetation levels provide a diverse supply of food, shelter and safe spaces for birds, so consider a decent mix of ground covers, grasses, shrubs of varying sizes, and a couple of locally native tree species.




Different species eating from a bird feeder can spread disease and make birds ill. Photo by Marian Sampson.

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