Feeding gulls and other beach birds is harmful to the birds themselves, other species, and also possibly humans.

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On a recent visit come Clearwater Beach, I observed a sign by the Florida Fish and Wildlife board of directors urging people to defend beach-nesting birds. 

Among the common-sense request (including keeping dogs turn off the beach) was the following admonition:

"Gulls and crows eat ours eggs and babies. Please don"t feed birds on the beach!"

We have probably every done it at some suggest - cram handfuls the cracker crumbs right into the air at the beach and also watching the gulls all of sudden gather and also swoop favor a scene out of one Alfred Hitchcock movie. Tourists frequently enjoy this seemingly chaste pastime, occasionally scrambling to record photos that gulls spread morsels the end of a child"s outstretched palm. Yet those cute gulls have actually sharp bills, and also I"ve watched them attract blood from people"s hands.

While many newcomers come our beaches could not be privy come the consequences, ns think many locals have captured onto the reality that feeding gulls and also other birds at the beach is a poor idea.

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How many times has your having lunch been dive-bombed at your favorite outdoor restaurant by a gull who included insult to injury through depositing the continues to be of its last meal on your head? This actions is not the bird"s fault; the is the result of human behavior that motivates birds to seek out humans as food sources.

But ns wonder how plenty of people, locals and also tourists alike, realize just how harmful feeding the birds is come the bird themselves and also to other wildlife? 

For example, feeding bird at the coast attracts huge hordes that gulls and crows--many an ext than would certainly gather in their herbal states - and also these birds in turn have the right to do grave damages to some of the more sensitive bird species.

Gulls and crows space predators and will raid the beach swarms of various other birds and also feed on your eggs and chicks. With the nesting habitats of such birds already minimal by human activities such together beach development, marauding predators choose gulls and also crows can further imperil their vulnerable populations.

Also, causing gulls and also other bird to gather in such big numbers is poor for the birds themselves. Large numbers of birds focused in one location boost their chances of spreading infectious diseases prefer avian pox.

Feeding the birds can also cause them to shed their are afraid of humans, making lock aggressive and also even dangerous. I have actually seen gulls steal bags the chips out of beachgoers" hands and also even dive-bomb a small kid"s ice cream cream cone, to reduce the boy to tears and the treat to a runny glob in the sand.

Fear of people is healthy for birds, the course. As soon as birds shed their herbal fear, your brazen behavior can placed them in harm"s means of cars, boats, dogs, and also humans who take into consideration them a nuisance.

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What"s more, person food simply isn"t healthy and balanced for birds, as it does not contain the vital nutrients bird need. Additionally, once birds come to be accustomed come eating person food, they likewise become breakable to eating garbage, fish hooks, and other items they mistake because that food that have the right to injure and even kill them. 

So the next time you room at the beach, gain watching the birds from a respectful distance and please don"t feed them. It"s far better for the birds and also for us. 

Plus, i think birds space a entirety lot much more interesting come watch once they space feeding top top their natural prey, no on the discarded remnants that someone"s grouper sandwich.

For much more information ~ above why it"s not a good idea to feed the birds at the beach, inspect out the college of Florida"s IFAS extension Service"s publishing on this issue.