Don’t feed the birds

Some residents place a cup of chook food and a cup of wheat out every morning in the same spot, where 50 or so black ducks and coots gorge themselves.

These might be well-intentioned actions but it is ultimately bad for the rest of the wildlife and the lake as a whole.

Bird botulism is only one of the problems created by adding unnatural food to the system.

There are only two bird species that actually benefit from grain-based feeding (including bread) ” the black duck and coot. The odd swan and the few domesticated ducks hanging around the lake might benefit but the negatives far outweigh any perceived positives.

Black duck and coot numbers are already at plague proportions; they do not need our encouragement to breed at the lake.

The increased numbers of these species is likely to disadvantage other, perhaps shyer, birds that are also trying to live at the lake and might be harassed by the numbers of aggressive black ducks and coots.

The lake and the wildlife it supports does need to be managed by human intervention e.g. creating islands and oxygenating the water. However, management only needs to be tailored so that the lake can support a sustained and diverse wildlife.

There is also a natural cycle of life at the lake. It is doing what it’s supposed to do. Some years it supports lots of life and some years not so much. Some years swans breed and then they might disappear for a couple of years.

In some years the lake might naturally dry out so we might see less wildlife in those years, but this does not mean that the lake is dying.

The lake is acting like a Mediterranean lake is supposed to act.

Water birds are doing what they are supposed to do; they move away in bad years and then find their way back in the good years.