City of Wanneroo residents are encouraged to plant birdfriendly gardens and leave out a clean freshly-filled bird bath to help attract native birds, rather than feeding them. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ Parks and Wildlife Service says feeding birds can alter their natural behaviour and seriously harm their health.
It is also now an offence in Western Australia to feed native fauna, including birds, without a licence. Fines of up to $20,000 are part of updated regulations under Section 155 of the West Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
- Most birds eat a balanced diet; 90% eat insects and nectar, seed or fruit. People feeding birds the wrong food changes the balance of their diet and can negatively impact their health.
- Feeding birds can increase aggression and stress as many try to feed together, this wouldn’t happen naturally.
- Feeding can increase the quantity of non-native birds, non-native rats and cockroaches, as the more food they get the more they breed.
- Artificial feeding can change the balance of species in the wild as it can increase some species, which in turn, decreases others.
- Feeding can spread disease through a concentration of food and birds in large numbers in one place.
- Bird seed left out in damp conditions rots, grows mould and introduces disease to the birds, and can attract rats and mice.
- Feeding encourages birds to become dependent on humans for their survival. They can lose the ability to find food for themselves, this is particularly so if they are juveniles who should be learning to find their natural food.
- It can cause sickness and deformities in young as high quantities of salt are present in bread and processed foods.
- Feeding can make them overweight and high quantities of fat are present in processed food and meat. Raw meat is lacking in calcium and has high levels of phosphorous which contribute to dietary imbalance and severe deficiencies.
- Artificial feeding is not necessary. Native birds do not need extra food as they are well adapted to their environment and will be much healthier and happier overall if left to eat only their normal diet.
The City encourages residents to attract a variety of birds into their neighbourhoods by planting birdfriendly species for food and shelter, and providing fresh, clean water sources, especially during warmer months.