LETTERS: Feeding birds ‘junk food’ diet isn’t helping anyone

Editor:

I want to thank the reporter who took the front page photo on the Jan. 18 issue of Peace Arch News. It shows an older gentleman supposedly making friends with the gulls on White Rock Promenade.

I’m sure the man has good intentions but he and other people have been feeding the gulls, crows and pigeons there without considering the outcome of their actions. For a few selfish moments of “feeling good,” he and his friends are creating serious problems for us and the local wildlife.

The obvious result is that now none of us can walk there with anything in our hands without being mobbed by gulls.

They and the pigeons and crows see us as a source of food and swoop and dive at us to get their fix. Anyone foolish enough to brave the gauntlet of beaks, claws and airborne poop is welcome to it. I’ll go elsewhere, as I’m sure many others will. Is that what we want for our waterfront?

Less obvious is the overpopulation of these three voracious species who replace local and migrating shorebirds. Their numbers overwhelm through competition and predation.

As well, these birds carry diseases that can be passed on through their droppings and contaminated feet. Local coyotes, raccoons and rats may also sniff out this free fix and then we’ll really have a problem.

Hopefully, White Rock council will have the will to ban this behaviour at the beach. It is a crime against wildlife to make them addicts of our junk food.

So what will the future bring? Will we see stale doughnuts and seeds being sold at the beach as bird feed or will we see nature as it should be?

I, for one, would rather visit the beach and see wildlife behaving as nature intended.

I want to see the many varieties of birds that live and migrate through our bay living their lives unhindered by us.

If people want to help they can donate money or volunteer at local wildlife refuges or nature organizations. Feeding birds junk food is not helping.

Wayne Linehan, White Rock

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