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Very tame waterfowl- thoughts on feeding? (1 Viewer)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I'm sure everyone has been to at least one park where there's a resident group of feral/dumped waterfowl, and maybe a few wild ones mixed in, that come up to check for food as soon as a person looks promising. I've found a pond that has a huge flock of coots, all tame enough to come within a few feet of the bank if someone is throwing bread, and most of the local public parks have a few muscovies and domestic mallards.

Now, I know bread is bad for them. But what are everyone's thoughts on feeding these sorts of birds, with an appropriate food? Birds that are tame enough that it's going to make no difference in their behavior towards people to have another person feed them. I can't think of any reason it would harm them to be given an appropriate food, when they're already that habituated, and getting some nutritious food in them might be good. I'd like to feed the ducks and take some close-up pictures, and was wondering what the general reception would be if I put some of those photos here, with context. By "feeding", I mean waiting for them to come up to me and tossing the food to them, not putting it out like someone might with a bird feeder.

Also, assuming no one can think of any reason I shouldn't: what would be appropriate to give coots? I know fresh corn, oats, peas, greens, and some other things are good for ducks. I'm reading that coots are omnivorous, so my first thought is to give them greens and see if I can find a good source of edible invertebrates. I have a can of freeze-dried krill for fish food- maybe pre-soak some of that and offer it to them? It's essentially shrimp. They'll go after the bread at the park, but I don't know if grains are actually good for them, and I know bread definitely isn't. I don't have any canned tadpoles, small crayfish, or other things that I know they eat. I don't think anywhere sells canned tadpoles. That doesn't seem very tasty.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I found a big package of pre-cooked shrimp in the freezer, without any seasonings on it, and that seems reasonable as anything to give coots. Can anyone think of any reason I shouldn't take some of that and some mixed greens to the park, after Spring Break is over and it's less crowded, and feed the coots? I love the noises they make, and would like to record a few minutes of that up close. Plus, feeding that many birds at once seems fun.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Well, coots like shrimp. They had some trouble taking a whole (peeled and beheaded, but rubbery) shrimp apart, so I threw them small pieces instead. Not much luck filming, I need to go back with a tripod. Preferably on a less windy day to avoid the wind noise. I also need to remember to chop the shrimp beforehand, so I don't have to pull it apart with my hands when I learn it's too big for the coots to tackle.
 

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