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.

Dietary impact

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.
For example, putting out heaps of sunflower seeds every day for birds is akin to turning up every day at a primary school with a smorgasbord of sweets, lollies and softdrinks. The kids will love you but it will be terrible for their health.

Ecological impact

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.

Avigrain Wild Bird mix is made up of coarse grains such as wheat, sorghum, corn and oats as well as sunflower and millets. The mix is formulated to be a low cost mix which will attract birds but it does not provide a complete diet. Under no circumstances should it be fed to caged or aviary birds as it is unsuitable.

There are other ways of attracting birds to your backyard.

  • Plant native trees which provide shelter and food.
  • Put up nesting boxes. Felling old growth trees leaves a shortage of places to nest and nurture young.
  • Present a clean fresh water supply.
  • Get a bell for your cat.

Avigrain advocates a varied balanced diet thoughtfully provided by well-informed bird-keepers.

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