A Sydney wildlife expert has issued a stern warning over a common habit at popular family spots which is proving fatal for aquatic birds.
Malin Frick, founder of wildlife group Wild Aware, shared disturbing footage of a duck with the tips of its wings protruding from its body at Narrabeen Lagoon in the city’s north on Monday.
Ms Frick revealed the cause of its deformed wings, which is known as Angel Wings, was down to its high-calorie diet caused by visitors feeding the ducks bread.
“Its all caused by people feeding the ducks near lagoons and lakes,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“These are very popular areas for picnics and barbecues and very big with families. I see lots of people feeding the ducks bread. They are often surrounded by the ducks who come for food.”
She said the deformity is common in ducklings, whose wings begin to protrude due to the carbohydrates and proteins found in large amounts of bread.
The joint in their wings becomes twisted and is incurable for adult ducks while reversing the condition in younger ducks is difficult.
“It is painful for them and it causes them an early death. They won’t be able to fly and are getting very dependent on receiving food,” she revealed.
Bread givers unaware of dangers
Ms Frick said the main issue is that visitors to parks and lakes with ducks is that most aren’t educated on the problem.
She said families are better off feeding the ducks frozen peas.
While she says there are some signs at lakes not to feed the ducks bread, she urged councils to provide more signage detailing the exact issue and what the birds can eat.
“People just don’t know what it is and what they’re causing. They look at the ducks and especially the ducklings and think they’re cute and like feeding them, but actually they’re suffering,” she said.
“I truly hope there aren’t people out there who would like this to happen to them.
“If you have a family and the kids are into feeding the ducks, they can feed them frozen peas. It’s healthy for them and they love it.”
Ms Frick said grapes and rice, either cooked or uncooked, are also good alternatives.
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