For some the idea of going to feed the ducks is exciting enough, but others might not think it cool enough, or just be a little too attached to the television or games console. So for those latter folks in particular, it’s time to put down Pokemon and get ready for a duck safari!
1. Know your birds!
Can you tell a duck from a goose, a goose from a swan, a male mallard from a female mallard?! Is that a Coot or a Moorhen?! There is much to see on a duck safari!
You can also buy inexpensive little pocket books to take along with you, such as the RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds.
2. Choose a location
You needn’t travel far, the local pond in the park, or a nearby river or canal with a safe pathway. Familiar locations, but are they all familiar birds and creatures?!
If you’d like to find somewhere new to explore, try one of these:
The Canal & River Trust oversees a network of over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers:
The RSPB has a range of reserves to visit, plus you can find out what you’re likely to see at each one:
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Wetlands Centres feature some of the world’s most endangered birds and “exhilarating adventure playgrounds”:
The Wildlife Trusts manage 2,300 nature reserves across the UK:
3. Stay safe around water
The Canal & River Trust have some great resources for helping younger duck safari goers learn about water safety, check them out here >
4. Get your kit ready
Nobody should go on safari unprepared! Whether it’s sunscreen or wellie weather, preparation is all part of the fun. Oh and let’s not be claiming it’s too cold/wet/whatever to go – as comedian Billy Connolly once said “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”.
Safari clothes, check. Kit bag with picnic, check. Let’s go on safari!
5. Don’t take bread for the ducks!
Bread is best kept for your safari picnic sandwiches, not ever for the ducks! Bread isn’t at all nutritious for them – and the quantities of it thrown at them in popular duck feeding spots can be really bad for their health and environment.
If you want to feed the ducks, first check that it’s okay to do so in your chosen location – some popular duck feeding spots have such problems with bread feeders that any kind of duck feeding has been banned.
Finally, please only scatter food sparingly on the water and keep moving along so you don’t overfeed the ducks, or start a riot when lots group around you! It goes without saying that you should dispose of your litter carefully too – but sadly there are many who don’t!
6. Avoiding “I’m bored……..”
The Kids of The Wild website has some great tips for avoiding boredom in their post “10 Ways to Make Walking with Kids Wonderful” – it’s well worth checking out!