THERE has been plenty of excitement in Enniskillen over the past couple of weeks, with one local family celebrating the arrival of lots of furry new additions to its brood.
As you can see from these stunning images, taken by Herald photographer Andrew Paton, it’s been a bumper baby season at the Broadmeadow in the county town, where one resident duck family alone welcomed a wealth of cuteness into the clan.
Proudly leading her 11-strong family across the busy footpath to the safety of the lough water, the protective mother duck and her far-from-ugly ducklings delighted passing walkers on the popular path last week.
With 30 percent of the county covered in water, it’s no wonder Fermanagh has long been a paradise for ducks and other wading birds. This in turn has led to a long time-honoured tradition of going ‘down to feed the ducks’, with many popular feeding spots all around the county, not least the Broadmeadow and Round O in Enniskillen.
The joy of feeding ducks can be as great for a five-year-old as it is for a 55 or 105-year-old, and at this time of year that joy is all the greater with so many little ducklings floating around the lough. With so many warnings against feeding ducks bread, though, what should we be giving them to eat?
First of all, bread isn’t poisonous or outright dangerous for ducks, but it really isn’t very good for them.
Just like with humans, white bread in particular has little nutritional value, and the birds are likely to fill up on it, making them less likely to eat healthy foods and get the nutrition they need, leaving them prone to health problems and deformities.
On their own, ducks will feed on seeds, plants such as pond weed, insects, and small water creatures. While the RSPB says it’s OK to give them a little bread, when planning a visit to your local ducks try to bring peas, seeds, rice, oats, lettuce or sweetcorn instead. Again just like with humans, try to avoid foods likes chips and sweets.
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