Be Kind to the Birds in Your Garden, Urge Experts - Do Not Feed Them

Cape Times (South Africa), June 17, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Be Kind to the Birds in Your Garden, Urge Experts - Do Not Feed Them


BYLINE: TONY CARNIE

DURBAN wild garden experts Charles and Julia Botha have sent feathers flying by calling on bird lovers to stop feeding wild birds.

The Bothas, best known for their book Bring nature back to your garden, did not actually urge people to starve the birds - but said people might be doing more harm than good by attracting birds to their gardens with bread, fruit and other food.

Writing in Africa Birds and Birding, the Bothas ask: "Are we doing the birds a favour, or does feeding merely serve to gratify our own human pleasure?"

Citing studies in Europe and the US, they note that artificial feeding stations can disrupt bird ecology and cause unintended, harmful side-effects.

For example, some waterfowl species had developed wing deformities when fed scraps of highly refined white bread.

Some estimates are that up to 75 percent of UK households put out bird food and this could cause considerable disruption.

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