Bread Causing Devastating 'Angel Wing Syndrome' In Birds

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Bread Causing Devastating 'Angel Wing Syndrome' In Birds

By Adam Ghassemi. CREATED Aug 13, 2014

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – There are warning signs, but all people don't follow them. Now one mid-state woman said she keeps seeing the gruesome effect bread has on ducks and geese.

There aren't many days you'll find more people at Memorial Park than birds. That's exactly why two-year-old Brooklyn and her mother, Amanda Ferrell, come here.

"It's a lesson for her to like nature,” Ferrell said.

But the pair may be among very few who feed the ducks and geese the right way.

Cathy Westerman said last month she noticed a problem with some Canada geese along Old Hickory Lake’s shores.

"Some I've seen look like someone took scissors and their might be a little bit of feathers, but it's chopped up,” Westerman said Tuesday. "They lose feathers, there's nothing exposed, but quills and they can't move them. That's it for life."

After some investigating she found out it an effect of the bread people keep feeding them.

The problem is a nutritional issue called "angel wing syndrome,” which causes the wings of some waterfowl to become heavily deformed. The damage is irreversible.

It’s one of the reasons Hendersonville Parks and Recreation Department Director Dave LeMarbre said they had signs and feeders with protein-rich pellets installed in 2012.

"It's been better. It's never going to be perfect because we can't stop everybody from feeding the birds. There’s no law or anything like that against it, but we're trying to move toward that direction,” he said.

LeMarbre said people should also only feed the birds in the water, which will help keep the mess to a minimum.

While the city tries to control the amount of birds and mess they leave behind they want people to put down the bread and use food the animals really need.

"It hurts to see them like that and know that there life is over. That's it for them. They're not normal anymore,” Westerman said.

Adam Ghassemi

Adam Ghassemi

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Adam Ghassemi joined the NewsChannel 5 Network in May 2011. Adam is a Memphis native and comes to NC5 from KATU-TV in Portland, Ore.