Waterfowl on Nagold: That’s why you should not feed birds with bread – Calw

A few years ago, a swan killed offspring of other birds – the result of being fed by humans. Photo: Buck


Many people enjoy watching ducks, swans or pigeons. It was easy to reach down into the bread bag – any crumbs are tasty and useful for the animals? Never. In the worst case, feeding the birds can even be fatal.

Calw – You often see it in Calw in the area around Nagoldufer, or also in the middle of Lederstraße: people feeding swans, ducks or pigeons with bread. They probably mean well – but they probably do not realize what damage they can do. Not only in terms of the health of the individual birds but also in relation to their behavior and the total population.



If bread or other pastries are fed to seabirds, this affects waterfowl as junk food, explains Stefanie Schweigert, spokeswoman for the city of Calw when asked by our editors. They contain a lot of carbohydrates – so this food requires little effort, is heavily salted and one-sided. If the seabirds are regularly fed with bread, they suffer from malnutrition in the long term and thus become more susceptible to diseases. And: “Seabirds eat as much as they can out of instinct, but also as long as you continue to feed them. That the animals then come in large numbers to an artificial feeding station is then no longer a sign of hunger. This is a sign that you get used to it, Schweigert points out.

Hard to digest

Of course, this is also much more convenient than going in search of food yourself, even if there is enough food in nature. The result: the birds become fat and sluggish. Quite apart from the fact that bread is difficult to digest for ducks and other seabirds.

If they are fed regularly by humans, the behavior of the animals also changes. “On the one hand, they lose their natural flight distance from humans and the sometimes greater concentrations of birds cause them stress and make them aggressive,” the spokeswoman said. Such a problem has already appeared on Nagold in recent years: “Here there were reports of a ‘killer swan’ that had killed the offspring of the other seabirds,” Schweigert reports. But this – from a human point of view – brutal behavior has very logical reasons: The Swan has probably defended its lucrative food source on Nagold.

do not survive the winter

If you continue to play the game, the whole habits of the birds will change. They usually have no problem finding food and surviving the winter, unless it is extremely tough. But if they are fed regularly, they become really addicted to it. And in the worst case, they die as soon as no one is there to feed them for a long time. “Feeding is therefore a dangerous encroachment on nature,” concludes the spokeswoman for the city of Calw.




It is also forbidden. According to the police regulations in the city of Calw, it is forbidden to feed pigeons and ducks. “Pigeons and ducks must not be fed on public roads and sidewalks, as well as green areas and recreation areas. Violation is a misdemeanor,” Schweigert was quoted as saying.

Yet, according to her, passers-by are repeatedly observed giving bread to the birds. Even the same several times, she says. “There are people who empty the whole bags from the bridges into Nagold – in other words, they dispose of waste – and then think it’s good for the environment. Of course it does not work,” the spokeswoman said. And adds: “As with many things in life, it depends on the type and quantity – but in Calw this (feeding, editor’s note) is strictly forbidden.” She refers to zoos: If at all, you can only feed them with food and no bread – “for almost the same reason”.



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