Killing me softly with Wonderbread...
March 23, 2017 10:17 AM   Subscribe

 
AUUUUUGGGGHHH. So much guilt!

How many are flightless, because of me? Gah.
posted by Amor Bellator at 10:20 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I consider myself a regular duck. I float around the pond, I waddle through the park, I fly south for the winter, and every so often I get to thinking about eating some bread. Sure, we all enjoy the occasional daydream about some nice old man sitting on a bench tossing us sandwich crust after sandwich crust, but I’ve gotta say, recently I’ve been having some really fucked-up bread thoughts.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:22 AM on March 23, 2017 [36 favorites]


Bread pudding is a thing, people. I use this recipe.
posted by orange swan at 10:22 AM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


My evil friend at university once feed the ducks bread with chilli sauce, to watch their reaction.
posted by dowcrag at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


*shrugs, feeds self duck*
posted by jonmc at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2017 [30 favorites]


I live next to a large public park, and this is my number-one pet peeve -- people feeding ducks, geese and other birds. I really wish they wouldn't. Indeed, one of my neighbors likes to feed seagulls and crows.

It's just stupid and bad for the birds.
posted by My Dad at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


I’ve been having some really fucked-up bread thoughts.

That is some classic Onion where it takes the concept all the way and then makes it even weirder.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


If you DO want to feed the ducks, stick to things like bird seed, cut lettuce, seedless grapes that have been cut in half and cooked rice.
My first reaction was How much food do you think I'm walking around with?, and then the other side of my brain replied You don't just roll up on the neighborhood pond with stale bread by accident, idiot.
posted by Etrigan at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2017 [83 favorites]


So we really have been "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" this whole time.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:27 AM on March 23, 2017 [23 favorites]


My evil friend at university once feed the ducks bread with chilli sauce, to watch their reaction.

um... so what was the reaction?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:28 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable to feed geese bread, because geese are assholes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:28 AM on March 23, 2017 [44 favorites]


This duck has a lot of bread.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:28 AM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, you can feed crows anything they want because, otherwise, they might hack your email and send abusive messages to your boss.

That'll teach you to not feed crows.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:29 AM on March 23, 2017 [30 favorites]


um... so what was the reaction?

Presumably not much. As I understand, capsaicin only does anything to mammals.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2017 [14 favorites]


I eat lunch outside when it's warm, and I kept absent-mindedly throwing crumbs to the finches and then feeling super bad about it (I can't remember when I learned about the 'bread=bad' thing but it was a few years ago)... so I went out and bought a bag of finch bird seed and one of those little screw-top tupperware containers. And now when it's warm I carry bird seed in my purse. Which makes me feel slightly like a Crazy Bird Lady but it's fun!
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:33 AM on March 23, 2017 [55 favorites]


my name is duck
and wen its nite
and the pond
is algae blight
and all the men
haf gon to bed
I swim out late
I lik the bred
posted by nubs at 10:33 AM on March 23, 2017 [169 favorites]


I am surprised by my current level of guilt.

I mean, let's face it, most ducks are assholes, and don't even get me started on geese, but to find out that all this time I've essentially been the Lucrezia Borgia of ducks... that is not something they deserve.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I wanna get in on this too:

my name is duk
and i am fond
of those who go
out to the pond,
all the men, and
the bred they fling.
now I have an
angel wing
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2017 [77 favorites]


Not to mention duck itch (if feeding them where people swim or walk barefoot.. )
posted by k5.user at 10:41 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


So, unless I've overlooked something here, a random sign somewhere shown in an image also taken by a rando says that feeding the ducks bread may not be for their optimal nutrition and may not be great for the ponds. People reblog with the conclusion that giving ducks bread murders them and many others freak out...

...and I am left quietly wondering what kind of mind believes everything said in a random sign whose source and very existence isn't even identified and can't manage to read the sign to see if it actually says what the headline says it does.

I know, I know, kind of a humorless reaction (and I honestly don't know how accurate the sign may even be), but this election has really brought home to me how many people are effectively preliterate and unaware of it.

I really need to fake me some photoshop signs saying that not giving praemunire all your money leads to colon cancer.
posted by praemunire at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2017 [28 favorites]


I once worked on the loading dock of a grocery store and there was a drainage culvert a few yards behind the store. A family of ducks had taken up residence in the culvert and there were a 7 or 8 ducklings who would wander around in the pull in area for the dock. As the trucks would pull in the drivers would see the family of ducks swimming or walking around. They had nothing better to do while they waited for the merchandise to be unloaded so, every day at least one or two big, burly truck drivers would look around the dock, wait until no one was there but me, and then sidle up and ask me if there was some expired bread around that they could take out the back door and feed the duckies. Not knowing any better, I always gave them some.

Based on the article, I'm guessing those ducklings never had a chance.
posted by Defective_Monk at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


I guess I had to get here early to make the geese joke.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:48 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


Surprise! That crap isn't nutritious for anyone, let alone ducks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:49 AM on March 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


if you want to replicate capsaicin effects on birds use artificial grape flavoring
posted by hleehowon at 10:50 AM on March 23, 2017


I know, I know, kind of a humorless reaction (and I honestly don't know how accurate the sign may even be), but this election has really brought home to me how many people are effectively preliterate and unaware of it.

I'm more wondering if you think there's some kind of partisan conspiracy against giving ducks bread that made up a fake flightlessness disease and then printed and posted signs.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:51 AM on March 23, 2017 [12 favorites]


why is metafilter the place where I keep learning disturbing shit about ducks
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:52 AM on March 23, 2017 [44 favorites]


Not to mention duck itch (if feeding them where people swim or walk barefoot.. )

Or avian flu. Always gives me the willies when I see a toddler surrounded by masses and masses of birds.
posted by My Dad at 10:52 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


Based on the article, I'm guessing those ducklings never had a chance.

Eh. Bread isn't the best stuff for them, but as long as they aren't eating only that it's not going to kill them. The problem with duck feeding in parks is that it comes in such large amounts that it becomes their primary food.
posted by tavella at 10:53 AM on March 23, 2017 [17 favorites]


um... so what was the reaction?

There certainly seemed to be bit more flapping about than usual, but my memory is a bit vague due to being a similar state to the one that led him to do it, and it was a looong time ago. Lunchtime beer may have been involved.
posted by dowcrag at 10:54 AM on March 23, 2017


Presumably not much. As I understand, capsaicin only does anything to mammals.

This is completely correct. Capsaicin doesn't bother birds in the least. IIRC, that's a common hypothesis for why peppers evolved capsaicin. It discourages their fruits from being eaten by mammals, who would digest the seeds and render them unviable, so that only birds, who will pass the seeds harmlessly and spread them across a wider area as a bonus, will actually be able to eat the fruits.

Just anecdotally, my parrots enjoy snacking on bell peppers from time to time, and almost every "safe food for birds" list you can find will have peppers on it.

So, unless I've overlooked something here, a random sign somewhere shown in an image also taken by a rando says that feeding the ducks bread may not be for their optimal nutrition and may not be great for the ponds.

Anyway, yeah. Processed bread is honestly not the greatest thing to feed birds. But overfeeding in general is probably a bigger issue than specifically feeding them bread.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:54 AM on March 23, 2017 [17 favorites]


Okay, real talk PEOPLE ARE FUCKING INSANE ABOUT FEEDING WILD ANIMALS BREAD.

I live in a residential neighborhood surrounded by wooded areas (in the middle of a city, so calibrate your vermin ideas accordingly) and there is no shit a Nextdoor.com-megathread-level white bread bandit or bandits in the area that have been active for years.

I come home regularly to find that someone has dumped half a loaf of white bread onto the ground next to my yard (which I then collect and throw into the compost bin). There are multiple areas around the neighborhood that are never without a giant fucking pile of white bread just laying there on the road (sometimes joined by a pile of lunchmeat, like the crows and rats are going to make themselves some fucking sandwiches???).

Apparently people think they are "feeding the deer"? As if the rats-with-hooves that overpopulate our area need some supplemental food after ravaging all of our gardens? And someone caught on their security camera a white SUV pulling up to the curb, dumping out a bag of white bread, and then driving the fuck away.

It's insanity, I tell you. INSANITY!
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:55 AM on March 23, 2017 [57 favorites]


Way to go, Kermit.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:59 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Hey … got any GRAPES?"
posted by Kabanos at 11:00 AM on March 23, 2017 [7 favorites]


I'm a little surprised, though -- is cooked white rice that much better for birds? I'd think it would be the same issue as white bread, seeds with too much of the nutrients and fat removed for a good bird-food balance.
posted by tavella at 11:00 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I read somewhere that frozen peas were recommended as an alternative to bread. All I can say is that our local ducks were NOT IMPRESSED.
posted by Kabanos at 11:02 AM on March 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


Gans, du hast das Brot gegessen
Gib es wieder her!

posted by Wolfdog at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


Sonst wirst du an Unterernährung sterben
posted by Wolfdog at 11:07 AM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


I knew about bread being bad for ducks, but not the reason why. I just assumed it was the copious amounts of poo the ducks then produce. I live in an apartment complex by some fake lakes kind of overrun by some dear but stupid Muscovy ducks that I feed birdseed to every morning. Other residents at the opposite end feed them bread and the amount of poo on the walking path is astounding. Near my place, there's none at all.
posted by not that mimi at 11:08 AM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


...and I am left quietly wondering what kind of mind believes everything said in a random sign whose source and very existence isn't even identified and can't manage to read the sign to see if it actually says what the headline says it does.

I know, I know, kind of a humorless reaction (and I honestly don't know how accurate the sign may even be), but this election has really brought home to me how many people are effectively preliterate and unaware of it.


A scant moment's googling will confirm from dozens if not hundreds of sources that feeding ducks bread is bad for them. It's not like this sign is the only place this concept has ever been stated.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:09 AM on March 23, 2017 [29 favorites]


I live close to a national park with lots of ducks, and there has been signs there for some years warning people not to feed them bread. People still do, because bird seed is available, but it costs a bit and means walking to the kiosk. Bread, on the other hand...

Despite being an animal lover, ducks are generally total assholes. Our family had one when I way young and it used to attack all of us, including the dog. I had spent hours training the dog not to tell it off, which I later regretted. So, you know... maybe bread is our revenge?
posted by greenhornet at 11:09 AM on March 23, 2017


If all else fails, ducks still eat for free at Subway.
posted by dr_dank at 11:12 AM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's insanity, I tell you. INSANITY!

I'm 100% with you! Someone needs to explain to the general population that just because you put out food intending it for one creature does not mean that creature gets it. And in a city, it's just as likely that ACTUAL RATS are having a banquet on your dime. In my old neighborhood, people used to dump entire pots of rice and other leftovers out next to trees in the parkway (between sidewalk and curb), I think for the squirrels? That area was urban enough that there weren't deer, for sure. Maybe there was a bunny or two, and a raccoon or a skunk wouldn't be unheard of. But there were definitely so many rats that I had to have regular exterminator visits to keep them out of my crawlspaces and basement and attic. *shudder*
posted by misskaz at 11:12 AM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


Back in the good old days, my exwife and I took the kids to the park for a picnic lunch and one of us unthinkingly fed one of the ducks chicken. After we realized we'd induced them to cannibalism, we started getting nervous they might have developed a taste for meat in general and vamoosed before we made any more of a travesty of the ecological balance. Doesn't really matter what we do, though. Practically the whole point of this particular park is feeding the ducks. It seems doubtful online shame is going to change the customs of all the other people who go there exclusively for that reason anytime soon.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Okay, real talk PEOPLE ARE FUCKING INSANE ABOUT FEEDING WILD ANIMALS BREAD.

My old neighborhood was in no way wooded. It was like, OG suburbs that had been surrounded by like 3 rings of newer suburbs. And yet some house would just dump bread out on their sidewalk and leave it there for god knows what creature they thought needed two loaves of white bread a week.
posted by muddgirl at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2017 [14 favorites]


Okay, real talk PEOPLE ARE FUCKING INSANE ABOUT FEEDING WILD ANIMALS BREAD.

This is why I set up my local park with some gavage equipment for force-feeding bread to local ducks.

I mean, we might as well get some foie gras out of it, right?
posted by GuyZero at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2017 [7 favorites]


This is like some fucked up mammalian revenge on the dinosaurs for stomping on us millions of years ago.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


Also, if you have that much white bread left over, maybe buy less bread?

I don't get it at all and it turns out so much of the neighborhood had been wtfing silently for like a decade until someone brought it up on Nextdoor and then the floodgates opened and it became so, so much weirder as other people described the bread-dispensing mysteries on their own blocks.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:22 AM on March 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


And yet some house would just dump bread out on their sidewalk and leave it there for god knows what creature they thought needed two loaves of white bread a week.

Trying to attract a domovoi?
posted by tobascodagama at 11:24 AM on March 23, 2017 [9 favorites]


I guess I'm from a pretty duck-heavy town, because I'm surprised people don't know this.
posted by atoxyl at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Growing up we were poor. So fucking poor. Anyway, near by was a Hostess last chance place where you could buy Hostess stuff that was about to expire or expiring that day for super cheap. Mom didn't have the money to do things like take us to the movies, or a theme park, or roller skating. Like anything. But she had enough money to roll up to the Hostess place and buy us each a $0.50 bag of Wonderbread. Then she'd drive us to Holmdel park here in Jersey and we would spend an hour feeding the ducks.

I guess any current deformed ducks at Holmdel? Totally our fault. Sorry about that.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 11:32 AM on March 23, 2017 [17 favorites]


You don't have to feed them anything.
posted by pracowity at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


is it bad if you, age 4 years old, are sitting in the park with your peanut butter sandwich and a swan races up away from the pond and hits you and then steals it?

asking for a friend

(More seriously, this is my actual problem with feeding wildlife. I don't do it, less because I give a shit about local ducks and more because I feel that wildlife should have a certain amount of healthy fear of humans and feeding them tends to completely destroy that fear.... which leads to wildlife doing whatever the hell they want to humans going about their days, which is how you wind up with carjacking baboons and other cases of animals deciding humans are useful sources of food who can yield even more food if you just helpfully bite or scare them into running. One of my coworkers started getting in the habit of feeding some of the campus squirrels with her lunch leftovers a while back, and I warned her off it but she persisted. A few months later a squirrel fucking beat her up and took her whole lunch.

You've been warned, humanity. Animals are dicks.)
posted by sciatrix at 11:38 AM on March 23, 2017 [25 favorites]


(incidentally this is the same basic reason that goats in petting zoos are all total assholes, way worse than goats that do not live in petting zoos)
posted by sciatrix at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


The grapes suggestion worries me a little on behalf of nearby dogs :(. People already leave chicken bones everywhere - I never quite know if they're being careless or actively malicious - and I don't need MORE to obsessively keep an eye out for!
posted by R a c h e l at 11:49 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable to feed geese bread, because geese are assholes.

Even better is to feed geese toazamboni.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:49 AM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


As a kid in Pittsburgh we fed the ducks bread at some kind of dam or reservoir nearby. There was always a truck there from a bread bakery that sold day-old loafs for that purpose. The bread would attract so many fish, that the ducks walked around on top of them, high and dry, snapping up their share.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


There's a park near us with a similar sign, very clearly labeled, and everyone ignores it. As in people come up, let their kids dump boxes of crackers on the sidewalk, and wait for the ducks. (There are also geese, which I find delightful in the karma. The geese have no fear of toddlers with crackers.) So every time we visit (which is fairly regularly because it's beautiful hiking and also full of turtles <3) we get mad at people and hope that the geese police the situation. Though, there's also a bit on the sign about how abandoning your dogs and cats there is illegal, and we always wonder what kind of monsters live in that suburb.

We also like to spend time in the local historical cemeteries, because they're super cool examples of architecture and symbolism, and more than once we've been swarmed by near tame animals who equate cars with food. Flocks of turkeys, super terrifying. But I get worried about the deer (who are admittedly city deer anyway) who have lost their fear of people for a few apples and some birdseed.
posted by librarianamy at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2017




praemunire: "So, unless I've overlooked something here, a random sign somewhere shown in an image also taken by a rando says that feeding the ducks bread may not be for their optimal nutrition and may not be great for the ponds. People reblog with the conclusion that giving ducks bread murders them and many others freak out...

...and I am left quietly wondering what kind of mind believes everything said in a random sign whose source and very existence isn't even identified and can't manage to read the sign to see if it actually says what the headline says it does.

I know, I know, kind of a humorless reaction (and I honestly don't know how accurate the sign may even be), but this election has really brought home to me how many people are effectively preliterate and unaware of it.

I really need to fake me some photoshop signs saying that not giving praemunire all your money leads to colon cancer.
"

Instead I will send you my bills for chemo...
posted by Samizdata at 12:08 PM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


On City Island in the Bronx, there's this great outdoor seafood restaurant surrounded by fatassed seagulls who every body feeds clams and oysters too. Dunno if the effect is similar.
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


So bread/crackers is a sometimes food for ducks. As we urbanize more, more and more people are feeding the ducks, and they're getting too much. Folks who were feeding wild ducks periodically in their childhood probably weren't killing them all, but folks should stop because we've hit critical mass.

I think the rabbits liking carrots thing was originally that rabbits would get into your garden and eat the greens, which is not great for the plant. The cartoon of rabbits eating the root part was anthropomorphism.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:17 PM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


There used to be a wonderful Serbian bakery where I live. The owner was a gruff man named Dragoslav. He would shout, "You are my favorite customer!" whenever you paid him in exact change. He was also very particular how you ate your food. They served soup and sandwiches and some meat patsy thing, and if you asked for oil for the wrong kind of soup, he'd not only not give it to you, but would then yell at you, "That's oxtail soup! Oil ruin oxtail soup!" and suddenly you were no longer his favorite customer. He also did not do American condiments. Never ask for ketchup.

One night I went into his shop. I was on a date, and I thought, "I'll buy some bread, we'll take a romantic walk around the stinky Lake LaVerne, look at the streetlights, pretend light pollution are stars, say hello to Lancelot and Elaine, and we'll feed ducks." For some stupid reason I let slip my masterplan, and Dragoslav starts yelling at me. "This bread not for ducks! This bread for people! I get up at 4 AM to make this bread! I don't have enough for the people who want my bread! You want bread for ducks, go to Subway!"

He refused to sell me bread.

I honestly do not remember the woman I was with that night, whether or not we ever got Subway bread, fed the ducks, or anything else about our date, but I never forget being yelled at by Dragoslav, all because I wanted to feed bread to ducks. To this day I an traumatized by the idea of feeding bread to ducks.

I miss that bakery.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:17 PM on March 23, 2017 [69 favorites]


Whatever their diet, it does amazing things for their capacity to write English language signage!
posted by papayaninja at 12:33 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


Here is video documentation of killing a duck by feeding it bread.
posted by Killick at 12:36 PM on March 23, 2017


Okay, real talk PEOPLE ARE FUCKING INSANE ABOUT FEEDING WILD ANIMALS BREAD.

We have one of these in our neighborhood, too. Bird seed and white bread scattered all over the (decrepit, health-hazard) back lawn of the house next door, every day, "to feed the birds." Predictably, this has attracted every pigeon, rat, chipmunk, and squirrel for half a mile, and they congregate on our house between snack breaks. We've been in the house for ten months and have had to have the exterminators in twice. The city won't cite her. It's not that people are ignorant of what they're doing, it's that they're willfully ignoring what they know because they want to feel like wild animals are drawn to/need them.

My new plan is to put all the squirrel traps I bought in REALLY OBVIOUS sight of the neighbor. If that doesn't work, I'll go full Vlad The Impaler on our shared picket fence.
posted by Mayor West at 12:40 PM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


kill the birds, tuppence a bag
tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
kill the birds, that's what she yells
and all of the birdies go straight to hell ...
posted by pyramid termite at 12:44 PM on March 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'm more wondering if you think there's some kind of partisan conspiracy against giving ducks bread that made up a fake flightlessness disease and then printed and posted signs.

Maybe you are just always in saner and more sensible precincts of the Internet than me, but these sort of mini-moral panics are actually a recurring phenomenon in some of the zones I frequent. People who are concerned about the welfare of [x group] but haven't yet got the hang of critical thinking do fall for unverified claims about harm to them.

A scant moment's googling will confirm from dozens if not hundreds of sources that feeding ducks bread is bad for them. It's not like this sign is the only place this concept has ever been stated.

Do you think the people in the Buzzfeed article reposting/reblogging/retweeting are doing confirmatory research first, though? No. That's the problem. Put something up on the Internet with even the vaguest hallmarks of authority and people will believe it and spread it mindlessly.

If you are willing to believe and repeat something from an image purportedly taken by someone whose identity you do not even know putting forth a claim by some other person or institution whose identity you do not even know, there is a problem. And it's not limited to facts about ducks, true or not.

Like I said, I know it's a bit of a grumpy reaction, but we just watched this mechanism in action for about a year and a half doing its best to destroy the health of our democracy.
posted by praemunire at 12:46 PM on March 23, 2017 [9 favorites]


@cjorgensen

Oil in soup? What does this mean? I'm supposed to be putting oil in my soup? my soup that isn't oxtail, of course...?
posted by jrishel at 12:52 PM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable to feed geese bread, because geese are assholes.
"Ducks behave pretty badly, it seems. It is not so much that up to one in 10 of mallard couples are homosexual - no one would raise an eyebrow in the liberal Netherlands - but they regularly indulge in 'attempted rape flights' when they pursue other ducks with a view to forcible mating. 'Rape is a normal reproductive strategy in mallards,' explains Mr Moeliker."
--- "Necrophilia among ducks ruffles research feathers," The Guardian, 8 March 2005.
posted by Diablevert at 12:59 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I may have mentioned this here before, but apparently when my dad was a kid he used to enjoy getting the pigeons to spell out dirty words by feeding them skillfully-arranged lines of popcorn.

As an adult his love of feeding animals evolved, and he instilled it in me. When we lived in a wooded area we set out veritable smorgasbords for the blue jays and squirrels - sunflower seeds, peanuts, little handmade molasses-and-peanut butter sandwiches, you name it. It got to the point where the squirrels would come sit on your lap while you were outside - actually you had to bring a plant mister out with you if you wanted to sit outside sans squirrels. No, we didn't have rats. No, our yard wasn't a mess. There were just a LOT of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks to watch, and as a kid, I loved it.

Then we moved to Florida and lived on a canal. We were never those horrid assholes who feed the gators, but the seagulls and catfish each got their share of goodies from us. I know people hate it but I flippin' love seagulls, and seeing them catch treats out of the air always made me happy. And even though I'm deathly phobic of fish, I even came to enjoy feeding "our" catfish so long as they stayed in their water and I was safely on the dock.

Not satisfied with just those guys, though, my dad somehow expanded to other creatures in the area - for a while he hand-fed hard-boiled eggs to the raccoons who'd come swimming across the channel each evening, and we briefly put out dog food for the opossums. THEN he got the bright idea of buying sardines to feed the pelicans - I have an amazing picture of one of our cats crouching on our screened-in lanai facing two pelicans mere feet away.

Unfortunately, the pelicans perched on our boat lift waiting for their fish. And pelicans emit a truly ungodly amount of waste. That put a hasty stop to the food train for the pelicans, and eventually we scaled it back to just the catfish and gulls again.

I know there is a lot that is problematic about feeding wild animals, but I can't regret growing up with this being such a part of my life. My dad is 12 years gone now and I still feed the animals when I can; there's something about it that gives me a connection with the really good, kind, playful aspects of my otherwise very complicated father.

When I get enough grapes, maybe I'll go have the city pigeons spell out something rude in honor of my dad.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2017 [16 favorites]


> > Like I said, I know it's a bit of a grumpy reaction

TBH my own grumpy reaction was irrational annoyance that so many people still don't know that feeding bread to ducks is a shitty thing to do. I thought this was common knowledge?* Then I reminded myself: no one knows everything, people discover things in their own time, etc.

* No, I'm not a gullible fake-news reader, I'm just someone who's encountered this information from reputable sources a few hundred times already in my 40-odd years.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


What about feeding squirrels? Asking for a friend
posted by Skwirl at 1:07 PM on March 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


Oil in soup? What does this mean?

I guess it's a thing.

Garnish with parsley leaves, a drizzle of virgin olive oil and serve with lots of fresh bread. (Last line from this post.)

Google tells me this is in many soups, but looks like mostly bean?
posted by cjorgensen at 1:13 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of when I had a squirrel drop a poppyseed muffin at my doorstep one day. I suppose it did not like it and decided it was better left to a human. Or maybe it was entertained by feeding the humans. I wonder if the squirrel community, like the human community, argues about the dangers of feeding humans too many poppyseed muffins.
posted by smidgen at 1:16 PM on March 23, 2017 [15 favorites]


my name is bread
i'm made of flour
my purpose: be
by ducks devour'd

their joyful quacks
make my heart rise
i ride their bellies
to the skies
posted by pmdboi at 1:23 PM on March 23, 2017 [28 favorites]


I know, I know, kind of a humorless reaction (and I honestly don't know how accurate the sign may even be), but this election has really brought home to me how many people are effectively preliterate and unaware of it.

Well Mr Grumpy the reason I think this sign has become a meme is because previously all the "don't feed the ducks" signs didn't actually describe in detail why it's bad to feed the ducks bread, and importantly, what to do instead.

So I would say rather than "pre-literacy" being the culprit, the message finally was crafted in a way to provide people the information they were missing all along. Gnosis, bruh--quite the opposite of your analysis.
posted by danny the boy at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2017 [14 favorites]


I once witnessed a woman cast an entire footlong Subway sandwich (I think the cold cut combo?) onto the waters of Lloyd Lake, GGP, scaring the ducks she was trying to feed and attracting a large, off-leash mastiff into the lake.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:38 PM on March 23, 2017 [34 favorites]


Maybe she was just mad at the sandwich.
posted by danny the boy at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2017 [12 favorites]


Well, someone's gonna have to inform the ducks at the pond near my grandma's about this.

Oddly enough, this is not the most disturbing duck-related thing I've ever heard of. But we have other MeFi threads for that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:53 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]




is cooked white rice that much better for birds?

It's that old bread easily harbors traces of mold that would not bother humans, but can easily harm birds. Same goes for pigeons. There may be a nutritional difference, but I'm not aware of any. I think this recommendation is about food safety and spoilage.

Since I already gave a bunch of scholarly sources and I'm busy, I'll mention that I grew up with a flock of dozens of wild ducks of up to a dozen different species, all kept happily in a small suburban yard. We fed them lots of things, but never bread. So maybe all the duck breeders we knew around the world were putting in the hit on Big Bread. You know, a smear campaign to unfairly tarnish this wholesome duck food. Or maybe they knew how to properly breed and raise healthy ducks.

Nobody said one piece of bread would kill a duck in thirty seconds. It's not poison, but it's also not a good idea if you like ducks. There are many easily available and better options, as the sign helpfully indicates.

(Feeding ducks bread may be a good idea if you hate ducks, and want to make them suffer at at the population level, in ways they may not notice, all the while tricking them into thinking that you're their friend. )
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:21 PM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


I feed ducks Japanese beetles. They love them. But ducks really go ape shit over crawfish!
posted by malaprohibita at 2:33 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I tend to assume that if someone believes something with enough intensity to have it written on a high quality, professionally produced sign and post it in a public place, and it's not an advertisement for anything, I should probably pay it some credence. So far that principle has not lead me astray.
posted by bracems at 2:58 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I see the sign but where are the people freaking out? Not in the shallow bowl of a suburban DC neighborhood where I grew up. In the center is located the Duck Pond. People skate there in the wintertime but in warmer months there's many ducks. On the shore, a couple red machines, coin-operated dispensers of corn kernels. Stale bread is for birds, but not ducks.
posted by Rash at 3:11 PM on March 23, 2017


Would you rather fight a duck-sized loaf of bread or a .... nevermind.
posted by HeroZero at 3:43 PM on March 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


Capsaicin doesn't bother birds in the least.
posted by tobascodagama at 13:54 on March 23 [+] [!]


And I should believe you why?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:44 PM on March 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


He refused to sell me bread.

NO BREAD FOR YOU!
posted by littlesq at 4:24 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


In my part of upstate NY, the even bigger problem with feeding the ducks is that they don't migrate; I used to live a few blocks away from a pond with a big duck population, and they stayed put during the winter, in anticipation of noms. This meant that a) you had extremely cold ducks who then needed b) even more attention in the form of bedding and, of course, more food. This behavior seems to have stopped a few years ago, in part thanks to the village cutting back on pond maintenance.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:34 PM on March 23, 2017


Maybe she was just mad at the sandwich.

She could also have been mad at the ducks, come to think of it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:40 PM on March 23, 2017


On another note, grapes and tomatoes are toxic for dogs and cats! So make sure that shit gets eaten by the ducks and not your pets.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:41 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well Mr Grumpy the reason I think this sign has become a meme is because previously all the "don't feed the ducks" signs didn't actually describe in detail why it's bad to feed the ducks bread, and importantly, what to do instead.

A lot of current issues are crying out for this approach.
posted by amtho at 5:43 PM on March 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


You have no idea.

I'm a dockmaster on the Erie Canal. We have these signs posted up and down both sides of the harbor here in Fairport. And still the folks show up with their young children and loaves of bread. If you point out the signs, they get mad. If you tell them hey, that's bad for the ducks, they get mad. I would say that one in ten are willing to believe you. The only thing that seems to work is to have a small ziplock of duck food and tell them, hey, I'll trade this for your loaf of bread, so they can continue to teach their child something wrong, but at least it's better than feeding the ducks the poison they brought.

Anyway, that's the solution we came up with here. Still, I gotta tell you, it's scary how mad these people get when you tell them feeding ducks bread is bad.
posted by valkane at 8:35 PM on March 23, 2017 [19 favorites]


How do people not know this? These signs have been around since I was a kid plus I was told this 100 times growing up by various adults, teachers and TV personalities on nature shows.

Well Mr Grumpy the reason I think this sign has become a meme is because previously all the "don't feed the ducks" signs didn't actually describe in detail why it's bad to feed the ducks bread, and importantly, what to do instead.

But there are tons of signs worldwide that say just this. I've seen hundreds in my life and a google image search of "don't feed bread to ducks sign" brings up dozens of examples from all over. I guess it's not real until it's on the internet anymore.
posted by fshgrl at 8:52 PM on March 23, 2017


It's not that people are ignorant of what they're doing, it's that they're willfully ignoring what they know because they want to feel like wild animals are drawn to/need them.

St Francis of A Trash Heap
posted by krinklyfig at 4:05 AM on March 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


How do people not know this? These signs have been around since I was a kid plus I was told this 100 times growing up by various adults, teachers and TV personalities on nature shows.

Other people live in different places, with different people, and maybe don't even go to places with ducks that often.

I've never seen a sign like this, for example, even though I live in a fairly well-known town in the US, grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, used to feed ducks with my parents in the 70s, and love ducks. Or maybe I saw one once and forgot about it. Either way, I'm not surprised by this -- thanks to other knowledge I've picked up over the years -- but it is new to me.

It really bothers me when people get upset at other people not knowing "obvious" things.
posted by amtho at 5:18 AM on March 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Anyway, that's the solution we came up with here. Still, I gotta tell you, it's scary how mad these people get when you tell them feeding ducks bread is bad.

"You're spoiling the fun we planned, which is the reason these ducks exist" is as far as their reasoning goes, probably. I remember going to the zoo with my niece and we got to the otter pen and a grown-ass man and parent literally started hollering to the otters that they should do tricks NOW to entertain him. My niece started parroting him, so I enjoyed correcting her right in front of him that (a) otters don't speak English, (b) nature doesn't exist to amuse us, and (c) it's rude to yell without a reason.

We used to live near a man-made lake in the middle of a small city, and I remember one of the neighbors paid to plant one of those quarter gumball dispenser machines in their front yard, filled with food pellets. At first I thought they were just being cool neighbors, but now I realize they were trying to give people a non-terrible alternative.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:32 AM on March 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


My brother is a park ranger. He once saw someone dump a 35-gallon trash bag of stale popcorn (party leftovers) on the ground at his reservoir.

When he confronted the offender, he claimed "Well, I didn't want to just throw it all away, so I thought I'd feed it to the ducks."

After a stern lecture on the topic of NOT feeding the wildlife, he let him go without a ticket because the guy cleaned it up (most of it) and threw it in the dumpster.
posted by zakur at 5:51 AM on March 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm a dockmaster on the Erie Canal.

I swear I thought that said duckmaster.
posted by moonmilk at 5:57 AM on March 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


I also read that as duckmaster.
posted by Fig at 6:19 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]




On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable to feed geese bread, because geese are assholes
.

See also: swans. Don't be fooled by their good looks, they will chase you the f down (speaking from personal experience here).
posted by thivaia at 6:27 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Still not convinced that this isn't just pearl-clutching hype, even after the scientific articles -- because I don't think they say what people think they say. E.g.

SaltySalticid: "Here's a nice review article that covers the topic from a bird's-eye view: Feeding wildlife as a tourism attraction: a review of issues and impacts"

But this article says:

"Surprisingly, there are few scientifically substantiated reports of negative consequences for the health and viability of provisioned animals... While such a statement may seem to be intuitively correct, in fact, there is no empirical research that proves this to be the case. What does seem clear, however, is that provisioned animals are at greater risk of injury as a result of their close encounters with humans... Despite such dramatic reports, there are few, if any, long-term empirical studies which prove that there are significant negative health consequences of feeding wildlife."

Still not seeing the actual evidence that bread leads to malnutrition and specifically angel wing, or that feeding the birds something else is actually better for them.
posted by crazy with stars at 6:30 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Other good reasons not to feed bread to ducks:

"Uneaten bread causes algal blooms, allows bacteria to breed and attracts rats and other vermin."
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 6:36 AM on March 24, 2017


Master of the ducks, prohibiting the bread
It could make 'em flightless and also dead
Gives away some food, pisses off the jerks
Saving all the ducks and geese is thankless work

posted by middleclasstool at 6:38 AM on March 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Still not seeing the actual evidence that bread leads to malnutrition and specifically angel wing, or that feeding the birds something else is actually better for them.

That may be true, but even so, the risk of harm likely outweighs the reward of going ahead -- at least from the birds' perspective.

If there were a flock of ducks starving due to an unusual circumstance, then it would be worth the risk of feeding them bread. Also, if the experience of connecting with wildlife is the one thing that would prevent a 10-year-old child from becoming a hate-filled terrorist, and you had one chance to make that happen, and all you could find was white bread, and you had no time to seek out anything else, then again the risk might be worth it.

If you happen upon someone bonding with their children by doing this, it's probably going to cause some social harm to interrupt and shame them. It's hard to communicate stuff without shaming people, but maybe a way can be found occasionally.
posted by amtho at 6:57 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


A+++ using the screengrab from Simpsons "Girly Edition"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:16 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


The only thing that seems to work is to have a small ziplock of duck food and tell them, hey, I'll trade this for your loaf of bread, so they can continue to teach their child something wrong, but at least it's better than feeding the ducks the poison they brought.

I am the parent of small children. You know what would work with us?

You: "Hey, every time you feed bread to ducks IT KILLS THE DUCKS". (Points to nearest sign).
Me: (mad parent, I am unimaginative and going to the park to feed ducks was the only thing I could think to do today, and it's the only one-on-one time I get to spend with my kid this week)
My kid: "Mommy I don't want to kill the ducks!"
Me: (never takes kid to feed the ducks again because kid will protest loud and long with lots of wailing about not wanting to kill the ducks).

Or, you know, some version of that. God bless him, my kid is super sensitive and you've never seen crocodile tears like he can make over someone or something getting hurt or dead.


(And thanks Amor Bellator for posting this. I am actually deadset against feeding wild animals and we don't do it at all but I honestly had never heard this about the bread. I'll be talking to the 5yo about it tonight.)
posted by vignettist at 9:15 AM on March 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


I am the parent of small children. You know what would work with us?

Yeah, but whether or not it works, I bet you'd be super fucking pissed off at poor Duckmaster Valkane for traumatizing your kid like that and making them cry, especially if you were put on the spot and were feeling super ashamed for maybe killing ducks and you were just tired and pissed off and you had this bread and all you fucking wanted to do was go out with your kid and do the ducks. If you felt defensive and ashamed and put on the spot enough, and you weren't super sure you believed this crap anyway, you might displace all those emotions right onto that asshole who made my kid cry and try to rip the guy a new one--especially if you were already pretty comfortable with yelling at people or confrontation.

So basically, while I bet that shit would work at least for some people, I think it would also amp up their rage at the dock staff beyond all reason, give a lot of the staff a lot of excess grief, traumatize at least some kids, and also potentially piss people off enough to attempt to defund or attack valkane's whole department if someone tried to implement it as a matter of park policy.

I would fucking hand people little bags of duck food pellets too, is what I'm saying.
posted by sciatrix at 9:56 AM on March 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Look on the bright side: at least, if the duck dies, it doesn't find itself transformed into the size of a horse to satisfy that perennial Reddit AMA question.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2017


"Joe Banks -- 82 years young -- has come to this pond every day for the past 17 years, to feed the ducks. But last month, Joe made a discovery. The ducks -- were gone! Some say the ducks went to Canada, others say Toronto. And some people think that Joe used to sit down there ..... near those ducks. But it could be ..... that there is just no room in this modern world ..... for an old man -- and -- his ducks."
posted by blucevalo at 1:38 PM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I get it, I'd probably be handing out duck food too. Anyone's mmv on whether they want to get in a confrontation or just like go to work and do their own job and mind their own business, I get it.

But as the parent in my little hypothetical scenario, pissed or not, I'd damned sure never bring bread to the park again.
posted by vignettist at 3:35 PM on March 24, 2017


The park near me in the UK says "feed the ducks bread". In preference to McDonald's, I suspect, but still...
posted by alasdair at 3:43 PM on March 24, 2017


There are also the signs in national parks about not feeding the bears, and yet...
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 4:30 PM on March 24, 2017


"Hey, every time you feed bread to ducks IT KILLS THE DUCKS"

Please do not lie to children, and do not lie about the degree of harm related to scientific or medical conditions. It will lead to distrust of science and medicine and especially of those who promote them.
posted by amtho at 5:25 PM on March 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Still not seeing the actual evidence that bread leads to malnutrition and specifically angel wing, or that feeding the birds something else is actually better for them.

It's a high calorie, low nutrient food that is imbalanced in mineral ratios for birds and that they will uptake to the exclusions of nutrients they do require for development. You can kill or maim almost any growing plant or animal by feeding them that.

Also the bread causes botulism when it sinks and decays and botultims kills approximately an assload of birds each year, mostly due to eutrophication which is the over nutrification of water which throwing handloads of simple carbs into the water does not help with.

There is a strong tendency on metafilter to disagree with science when it comes to the realities of interacting with wildlife, ex: feral cats, trap neuter release, invasive species removal and the like. I get that people identify with a cute animal when it wanders into their field of vision but the truth is most people that stridently argue with this kind of science don't give a fuck about wildlife the rest of the time. The world is the way it is, wishing it was cuter and more childlike will not make it so. And arguing with people who've literally devoted their entire careers to conservation because it "seems like that's not right/ common sense/ you're mean!" is annoying as hell, honestly. I appreciate a well reasoned argument as much as the next person but this is a significant dim spot in this communities normal ability to discourse like adults.
posted by fshgrl at 10:31 PM on March 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Honestly we'd probably double our progress as a species if we could wire everyone to get a small electric shock every time they say "it seems like" or "it feels like" during a debate about facts.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:12 AM on March 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


fshgrl: "It's a high calorie, low nutrient food that is imbalanced in mineral ratios for birds and that they will uptake to the exclusions of nutrients they do require for development. You can kill or maim almost any growing plant or animal by feeding them that. "

I hate to be the 'citation needed' guy, but when you're claiming the mantle of 'science' I think it's fair to ask for evidence for your point of view.

I provided quotations from a study that specifically said that your view on feeding animals may seem intuitively true (perhaps even feels like 'common sense') but there is very little research backing it up. I understand that feeding birds bread may be bad for a number of reasons -- possibly bad for the environment they live in due to things like botulism, possibly bad for creating a dynamic of human-animal interaction that can ultimately backfire on the animal, etc.

But on the specific point of 'does feeding birds bread lead to their malnutrition' can you point to any study showing the long-term effects in terms of birds' health? And specifically leading to angels' wing? I don't think such evidence exists, and I think it's quite unfair for you to take the rhetorical position of fact-based reasoning if you can't provide it.
posted by crazy with stars at 9:42 AM on March 26, 2017


There are one trillion studies out there on the nutrient requirement for raising poultry. Read some of them then compare to the nutrient profile of bread.

There probably aren't any studies because no one has considered bread as a commercial waterfowl raising food and typically scientists don't do do studies that are going to kill or maim a bunch of young animals to prove something we can infer very easily and with great certainty from the existing literature.
posted by fshgrl at 10:50 PM on April 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


« Older Syrian Football-World Cup Qualifying   |   The Office Chair of the Future -- Today! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments