To Feed or Not to Feed

San Antonio River Walk

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I know it seems sweet to feed birds in the park or on the riverfront walks in cities. I probably did it at one time myself. But if you want to feed birds, do it in your own backyard using food that will help them. Audubon gives some great advice on bird food and feeders.

The other day I ate lunch on San Antonio’s river walk at Cafe Rio. Pigeons, ducks, and smaller birds wander the area waiting for easy grub.

lying in wait

I watched as a man across from me leaned down and fed a pigeon a tortilla chip. I shook my head at his female companion, and she looked puzzled. Then I heard her give a small yelp. One of the ducks had nipped at her foot. When they stood to leave, she exclaimed, “They’re on the table.”

cleaning up

I’m only surprised she was surprised.

Wildlife are not supposed to eat our food (we shouldn’t eat some of it either). They can find food in nature. When they find an easy source, they’ll go for it. Wouldn’t you? It’s not healthy for them and brings them into too much contact with humans which in turn puts them in more danger. They lose their innate fear of humans. And they can become predators, such as the duck who pecked at the woman’s foot.

So please think before you throw that white bread, tortilla chip, or french fry on the ground for wildlife to enjoy. Instead, invest in a proper bird feeder and bird seed. Teach your children and grandchildren to admire the birds from a distance and show them how beautiful nature can truly be with little interference from us.