No crackers for Polly

WHILE many people on the Northern Rivers may enjoy feeding the native birds of the region, WIRES Northern Rivers warns it could be dangerous for the birds.

Feeding native birds, the wildlife rescue and animal care organisation said, resulted in them becoming dependant on humans and not developing their natural foraging skills, losing the ability to fend for themselves.

In addition extra food for one species will result in them breeding more and this creates unnaturally large populations that overwhelm other native species.

Muriel Kinson, of WIRES Northern Rivers, said while many people loved to feed birds, they would urge them not to, as

DIET DILEMMA: Lorikeets and other native birds may make a colourful addition to your neighbourhood but feeding them can cause problems.
DIET DILEMMA: Lorikeets and other native birds may make a colourful addition to your neighbourhood but feeding them can cause problems. Contributed

many foods given to birds clogged their beaks or hurt their digestive systems. If you really wanted to feed them, you would have to identify the exact species and find out the right thing to feed them, which was very complex.

 

It was much easier, safer and more appropriate to instead provide a habitat in your backyard that helped birds care for themselves.

Foods commonly offered to birds - such as bread, sugar, honey and jam - did not provide a suitable diet, and native birds did not have the digestive systems to deal with refined flours or high fat content.

WIRES said they had rescued many birds with their top beaks completely rotted or clogged due to stuck food, and noted a case in Sydney where many lorikeets were found dead and discovered to have fatty tumours around their organs from eating too many high-fat-content sunflower seeds.

The good news, Ms Kinson said, was there was an abundance of natural food in the Northern Rivers environment that made supplementary feeding completely unnecessary.

Ways to attract birds to your garden without artificially feeding them, like planting native varieties of plants, flowers and trees and making sure there was a fresh and clean source of water available, was preferable to manually feeding native birds, Ms Kinson said.



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