April 29th was a good day for seeing migrating birds in Central Park. We went to the Great Hill, the Ravine and the Harlem Meer in the north end of the park. I enjoyed close up views of a busy Common Yellow-throat and the male Red-winged Blackbirds fighting over territory while the female was quietly making her nest. We ran into the famous Chris Cooper – we were both looking for the Hooded-warbler. I would have attended his talk at NYC Audubon but it was too expensive.
We went on a Linnaean Society of NY birding walk yesterday and took a few photos along the way. The Chickadee was so close that one could have touched it. These birds are not behaving naturally. This means some people are not respecting the park rules to not hand feed wild animals.
The USDA says, “Feeding wildlife can lead to a number of serious problems: Human food is not healthy for wild animals, and they do not need food from humans to survive. Wild animals have specialized diets, and they can become malnourished or die if fed the wrong foods.”
Also it can impact some birds migration. “Some scientists believe accipiters like Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks forego migration in some areas due to the abundance of prey at bird feeders, a behavior called short-stopping.”
The worst thing to do is feed bread to ducks, geese, swans, and other waterfowl bread. Any bread not consumed by ducks pollutes waterways, threatening the other creatures in the ecosystem like fish, turtles, and other wildlife. There are healthy alternatives but I would recommend against it in a public park.