Feeding our plastic legacy

It’s nearly one week into the Covid 19 lockdown. Council were not able to retrieve dying and dead birds from the pond at Tahuna Torea. The birds have been dying from avian botulism which paralyse them (its a horrible way to go). I took a pied stilt to the vet but it did not make it and cleaned up other dead and dying geese and mallards.

While I was there I noticed a lot of trash that had become exposed, as the water was the lowest it’s been in at least 10 years. Going back to pick it up I found it was mostly bread bags taken to the pond to feed the birds. I understand the commonly known reasons for not feeding birds. But I had no idea how much plastic goes into the water as byproduct of the practice. Light can not penetrate the dark pond waters and the plastic doesn’t break down. Sediment settles on top and where ever I dug into the dried mud I found plastic.

I’ll spend a few more hours gathering it but I’ll never get it all. I’m sure other ponds are similar if not worse. As long as we keep selling bread in plastic, bird feeding will be contributing to our plastic legacy.

UPDATE: 5 April

After removing three black sacks of dead birds and soft plastics I was rewarded with seeing this secretive bird feeding right where I had been cleaning up 😀

Spotless Crake

UPDATE: 12 April

So far I have retrieved two geese, four mallards, one juvenile black-backed gull and four black sacks full of plastic, mostly bread bags.