Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Feeding Ducks
Name: Arlene
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Unfortunately, I have been feeding wild ducks that have been coming into my yard for several months now. There is a natural brook in my backyard. I have just found out about the harm that feeding does and I will stop. I had been getting them cracked corn. I certainly do not want to contribute to harming these beautiful creatures. MY main question is if I stop right away (completely) will they be okay for the winter. Our winter has been very mild so far but I want to be assured that the ducks will soon take off to other parts that will be safe. Please tell me that the harm I have already done can be healed.


Replies:
Many people make that same mistake only because they were trying to help. Don't be afraid, it has not been occurring for too long so I would just stop feeding them and they will eventually decide to go look for food elsewhere. As long as they were full grown when you started, they still know how to find food on their own, you are just easier! Thank you for your concern for the ducks, it's great that you want to be devoted to helping them and their environment!

Grace Fields


First, don't feel too guilty about feeding the ducks corn. Biologists agree that supplemental feeding is not necessary, and can be harmful if it concentrates too many birds in one place so that disease can spread, or if bread (especially) or other food not good for the birds is fed. Corn itself is not bad for the birds, the change in behavior is the possible problem. For now, in mild weather, just stop feeding and see what happens, I expect the birds will move on on their own. If they are still coming to your yard in very cold weather its probably OK to feed them a little bit until weather turns mild again. Good luck.

J. Elliott


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory