In spite of brisk morning weather, more that twenty adults and children attended East Sacramento Preservation’s first Waterfowl Education Day at McKinley Park Pond.
Until recently, the public has liberally fed the birds processed human foods including bread, muffins, bagels, tortillas, crackers, cookies, and cereal. Many of the birds in the pond have wing deformities, a condition called Angel Wing. Bread and similar products have no nutritional value for the birds and thus their wing development and growth is affected.
Most of us were brought up to feed bread to the waterfowl. In the past the birds would migrate away to the fields and waterways to forage for their nutrition. But most of the waterfowl at the McKinley Park pond do not migrate and so do not balance out their nutritional needs in the wilds, leading to many of the birds developing wing deformities.
The City of Sacramento supports the proper feeding of domestic, non-migrating waterfowl and new signage at the pond will explain that the birds should only be fed whole grains and seeds and waterfowl pellets (found at Western Feed) and peas.
Breeding season has just started so it is important to get the word out to the public about this important issue to prevent further wing deformities.
Neighborhood volunteers, the Boy Scouts and other groups will be passing out sample food and informational flyers at McKinley pond most Saturdays though out the spring.