Feeding Wild Birds is an activity enjoyed by many Australians. While it is great to have a connection with local wildlife, feeding wild birds and animals comes with responsibilities as it has an ecological impact.
In highly urbanised parts of Australia and many parts of the Western world, local birds and wildlife may need supplementary feeding by humans to survive. In Australian suburban and rural areas anyone feeding wild birds or animals should understand they are feeding wildlife in order to enjoy the experience rather than to help the birds or animals survive.
Enjoy feeding wildlife in your backyard but please understand the impacts.
In Australia native animals are more than capable of fending for themselves. Avigrain Wild Bird Mix is designed to be used to attract birds for your enjoyment – not to feed them. It is colourful and has fatty seeds like sunﬂowers to attract granivorous birds such as parrots but it is not designed to be an important source of nutrition.
Try to have as little impact as possible by:-
- Never feeding processed foods such as bread, meat or foodscraps.
- Feeding naturally occurring products such as grain or fruit.
- Not feeding large amounts.
If you feed animals regularly you can upset the natural ecological balance by promoting one species over another.
These are examples of ecological impacts of feeding wild animals but each situation is diﬀerent.
- If food is left out on a regular basis birds or animals may become dependent and removal of that food source can impact on local ecology.
- Aggressive or territorial bird species may come to dominate the local area crowding out shyer species.
- Other species, fed or unfed may have health and behavior impacts such as impacting on reproduction patterns.
- Feeding predatory species may increase prevalence of these species in an area and this will impact on the prey species.
- Attracting birds may provide a prey opportunity for domestic cats.
- Migration patterns can be impacted.
Birds congregating around feeding sites may lead to transmission of diseases such as salmonellosis, campylobacterosis and psittacosis. Disease may impact on local birdlife and human health. In short, to minimise the potential for disease treat the bird feeding area like your kitchen
- Clean out feeders after use.
- Wash area regularly.
- Locate feeding area where it can be cleaned
- Don’t leave food out – if it gets wet or rodents feed there it is likely to cause health problems.
- Offer feed in a clean area that is safe from traﬃc and predation.