Just feeding the ducks: quantifying a common wildlife-human interaction
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Wildlife feeding is very popular and widespread throughout the Western world. In Australia, the public is actively engaged in both private and public settings. Duck feeding in urban lakes, in particular, is a popular public activity. This preliminary study investigated the practice of duck feeding at 10 locations within south-east Queensland. The diversity of waterbird species fed was consistent with previous studies within the region. An unexpected finding was the abundance of domesticated ducks present. Dabbling duck species were seen to take advantage of feeding whereas grazing duck species did not. It was found that duck feeding was a common practice of humans and that on average people were involved for 4.5 minutes and fed an average of 4.9 slices of bread per feeding session. This suggests a need for further study into the potential impacts of bread deposited into the water system and the general health of duck species.
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