A female duck has made her nest right outside the Quick Country studios here in downtown Rochester this spring, and being an animal lover, I may or may not have been tossing some crackers her way. But now, though, it's been brought to my attention I should probably just keep the crackers to myself.

 

The Quick Country duck, on her nest outside our studios, no doubt waiting for somebody to toss her some crackers-- even though they're not the best for her.

Yes, for a couple of days now, I've been crushing up some old crackers we had in our pantry and leaving them for Mrs. Duck on my way into the station. She seems grateful -- well, I'm guessing she's grateful, anyway -- seeing as the crumbs are gone each evening when I leave.

But today, however, I was shown THIS article that says feeding bread and crackers to ducks and other water fowl isn't the best. According to the article from birding.com, "Feeding ducks bread and crackers is bad because the food has little nutritional value and can harm ducklings’ growth, pollute waterways and attract rodents and other pests." The article goes on to list a few things one should feed ducks, including:

  • Cracked corn
  • Wheat, barley or similar grains
  • Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)
  • Rice (cooked or uncooked)
  • Milo
  • Birdseed (any type or mix)
  • Grapes (cut in half)
  • Frozen peas or corn (defrosted, no need to cook)
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms (fresh or dried)
  • Chopped lettuce or other greens or salad mixes
  • Vegetable trimmings or peels (chopped)

Geez, I had no idea. I always thought bread and crackers were just fine for ducks. I remember when I was a kid and my parents would take us to a park back in my hometown of Wausau, Wis. (Oak Island, for anyone familiar with the area) where a lot of ducks lived-- kind of like the geese at Silver Lake Park. We'd buy a couple loaves of white bread, break them up, and throw the pieces to the ducks, who'd devour them instantly. Who knew it wasn't even good for them?!?

Although, it seems to me that even the few of-little-nutritional-value crackers I've been tossing our duck here can't be doing that much harm. She hasn't had all that many, and I mean, come on -- bread and crackers don't hold all that much nutritional value for me, either; I eat them occasionally and am still on this side of the soil.

Fortunately, I tossed her the last of the crackers earlier today. I guess tomorrow, I'd better bring in some more nutritionally sound food. Anybody have any extra mealworms they're not using?