I must admit that I was "today years old" when I found out that you're really not supposed to feed bread to ducks and swans. Apparently, all these years that I've been tossing rolls and leftover bread into the pond, I've been doing more bad than good.

I was taking a stroll at the Buttonwood Park Zoo when I came across this sign that pretty much gave me a science lesson on ducks and how bad bread is for them.

Courtesy Buttonwood Park Zoo/ Sarah Henry
Courtesy Buttonwood Park Zoo/ Sarah Henry

That's when it hit me: I bet a lot of people didn't realize this "not-so-fun" fowl fact. It's now my mission to save the ducks to the best of my ability.

Buttonwood Park Zoo provides feed dispensers along the railings where the waterfowl tend to hang out. For a mere quarter, you can fill up a tiny cup with the proper and healthier alternative to bread. Tiny grains that are easy for the birds to digest is a much better solution that not only will save the life of a duck or a goose, but will also prevent pollution in the surrounding water and ecosystem.

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Just because the swans or other fowl that hang around the park will eat the bread you toss at them doesn't exactly mean it's good for them. The more bread you feed them, the more they'll need to go to the bathroom, leaving harmful bacteria all over the place. Any leftover bread on the ground that wasn't found by wandering ducks will eventually grow mold and become harmful once consumed.

It's a vicious fact of life, but it can be contained with the proper education and knowledge when it comes to caretaking ducks and other water fowl. I know I'm late to the game, but at least I know now what not to do and I hope this message helped you learn something, too.

Dartmouth Hosts Mass Audubon's 18th Annual Allen's Pond Duck Derby

A play-by-play of the Duck Derby on Allen's Pond in Dartmouth that helps support Mass Audubon's ecological and outreach programs. One "lucky duck" went home with $5,000 for finishing first in the race.

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