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Photograph: Sue Lindenberg

PSA: Stop feeding the birds in the Royal Parks

Excessive feeding is causing chaos for the wildlife

Isabelle Aron

Ah, feeding the local ducks, what could be more wholesome? Well, we’ve got news for you. Excessive feeding in London’s lovely Royal Parks encourages large groups of birds such as gulls and crow birds which bully other birds, steal their eggs and kill their chicks. Not so wholesome, after all.

The Royal Parks has launched a new ‘Help Nature Thrive’ campaign to encourage people to stop feeding the wildlife in these green spaces.

Hyde Park attracts 13 million visitors every year, which means the birds are getting fed a LOT of bread. In fact, the Royal Parks filmed a video in May this year which shows birds in a small stretch of the lake being fed 15 times in a two-hour period.

The Royal Parks says leftover food attracts rats and that the water quality can be impacted by uneaten soggy bread and waterfowl faeces. Overfeeding also increases the numbers of waterfowl, which means overcrowding, stress and helps wildlife diseases spread.

The situation isn’t just about birds, either. As part of the campaign, visitors to Richmond and Bushy Parks are being asked to keep at least 50m from the herds of wild deer and not to touch or feed them.

Make David Attenborough proud and give the deer a wide berth and, please, stop feeding the birds, okay?

In other news:

Kensington & Chelsea Art Week is doing loads of cool outdoor stuff this year

Chinatown is becoming a full-on botanical garden

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