Many of the ducks I saw were hanging out on overturned trees laying in the river, and this group was roosting in a tree right near the footbridge. There was a very large group of Canada Geese nearby since people were feeding them bread. This annoys me not only because I know it's not good for the birds, but also because it's frustrating if I'm running or walking because I need to navigate around the birds or avoid the path altogether if there's too many of them.
According to a recent feature in the "Green Guru" column in the July/August issue of Audubon Magazine, feeding wild birds is harmful for the following reasons:
- White bread offers poor nutrition for the birds (refined sugar and processed fats are essentially "junk food" for them).
- It causes ducks to gather in larger-than-normal groups, which might alter the behavior of the birds and make individual ducks more aggressive.
- Another negative result of allowing large groups of birds to gather is it might change their migration timing and some ducks might not migrate at all.
- Large bird congregations can also contribute to the spread of disease among birds.
There was also a article on the subject in a recent MassWildlife newsletter, but I'm having trouble finding it online.