Residents warned against feeding birds

Writer: Wang Jingli  |  Editor: Holly Wang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily 

Foods for human consumption such as bread, cotton candy and meat are harmful for migrant birds staying at Shenzhen Bay for winter, Southern Metropolis Daily reported Sunday, quoting experts.

An important stopover on the birds’ migration route from East Asia to Australia, Shenzhen Bay will attract nearly 100,000 birds from December to April. Many of the migrant birds will stay at Shenzhen Bay Park, according to the report.

As more and more residents spend their spare time at Shenzhen Bay Park, feeding the birds various human foods has become a common practice.

However, this may pose a danger to the birds, according to Shenzhen Bay Park staff.

A security guard at the park told a reporter with the Daily that most residents will follow instructions when told to stop feeding the birds. But it is hard to stop everyone, especially when there is an extra-large flow of parkgoers.

Huang Fang with Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Conservation Foundation suggested that processed food like bread, though it looks harmless to animals, can easily cause birds to have high cholesterol and to lack the vitamin and minerals they need due to the high amount of salt, oil and sugar it contains.

Eating bread is also dangerous for ducks and other waterfowl, causing them to suffer from a disease called “angel wing” which can make their feathers grow too quickly, straining their muscles and impeding their ability to fly, Huang said.

Additionally, bread is harmful to the water environment. When wet, food high in fat and pesticide residue will pollute soil and water sources, leading to bacteria growth.

Experts also advise photographers not to feed egrets and other birds in attempts to get photos of their feeding behavior.