We know Estonia
11.1.2023 | Nature

Estonian Animal Protection Society: Do not feed swans and ducks this winter, especially with bread 

Text Mark Taylor
Photo Andrei Chertkov

Estonian Animal Protection Society: Do not feed swans and ducks this winter, especially with bread 

 

In cold weather, many Estonians take bread with them to offer to swans and ducks. Although peoples hearts are in the right place, this behaviour causes unnecessary suffering to many birds.

The most common waterfowl in Estonia in winter are mallard ducks and mute swans, which do well in the milder winters. If necessary and when food is scarce, the birds look for an ice-free water body or bay, and in severe cold they fly further to the south or southwest in search of food.

If a person interferes with a bird’s natural migration habits and creates the feeling that food is being distributed, it can be fatal for the bird.

Birds accustomed to human food stay put, even though they can no longer find enough food in the wild. In this way, weaker birds tend to starve, and diseases spread more easily among birds that winter together.

Some may remember that as the spring of 2021 began, swans that had died due to bird flu could be found on the beaches of the northern coast of Estonia.

In addition to the interfering with migration habits, the food most often offered by humans – bread – has a negative effect on waterfowl. A herbivorous swan naturally eats the stems and roots of various aquatic plants; aquatic insects and slimes are added to the diet of mallard ducks. Bread rich in carbohydrates, but poor in vitamins, does not provide the waterfowl with the necessary substances for life and can cause serious digestive problems. If it is somehow impossible not to feed the waterfowl, you should offer the bird fresh salad or vegetables, but this too should be the exception rather than the rule.

If you really believe that a bird is in trouble and needs human help, call the national information number 1247.

The Estonian Animal Protection Society is a non-profit organisation formed in 2000 uniting animal lovers, whose mission is to ensure and improve the welfare of animals in need and to prevent animal abuse.

 

To learn more about this and similar topics
Birds Bread Do Not Feed Birds Bread Ducks Estonian Animal Protection Society Swans Waterfowl

20.3.2024 | Nature

How to create a natural garden at a free lecture

How to create a natural garden at a free lecture

This Thursday, March 21, certified permaculture designer Marian Nummert will give a free lecture on how to create a … Read more

29.2.2024 | Nature

Tallinn Botanic Garden’s annual orchid exhibition opens tomorrow

Tallinn Botanic Garden’s annual orchid exhibition opens tomorrow

The annual orchid exhibition at Tallinn Botanic Garden will open tomorrow, March 1. The exhibitions, which has taken place … Read more

27.2.2024 | Nature

Estonia has shrunk by 4 km2, but gained 95 new islands

Estonia has shrunk by 4 km2, but gained 95 new islands

A new map completed by the Estonian Land Board has found that although the country has 95 more islands … Read more

14.2.2024 | Nature

Enjoy Valentine’s Day in Estonia

Enjoy Valentine’s Day in Estonia

XVII Tallinn Winter Festival Charity Concert,Mustpeade Maja, Tallinn. Brazilian Carnival Show, Alexela Concert Hall, Tallinn. Valentine’s Day Gala Concert, … Read more

12.2.2024 | Nature

Voting is open for European Tree of the Year 2024

Voting is open for European Tree of the Year 2024

Voting is now open for the European Tree of the Year 2024 competition. The 14 trees from around the … Read more

22.11.2023 | Nature

Estonian Environment Agency issues heavy snow warning for this evening and overnight

Estonian Environment Agency issues heavy snow warning for this evening and overnight

The Estonian Environment Agency has issued a level 2 “dangerous” weather warning for heavy snow and blizzard conditions for … Read more

21.10.2023 | Nature

Pumpkin Festival begins at Tallinn Botanical Garden

Pumpkin Festival begins at Tallinn Botanical Garden

From today, October 21, until November 5, Tallinn Botanical Garden will host a pumpkin festival, where interesting varieties of … Read more

18.10.2023 | Nature

Biodiverse cities are a must for the future of humanity

Biodiverse cities are a must for the future of humanity

What kind of a city do we want to live in? Why do we need nature in the city? … Read more