Sunday, 21 September 2014

Feeding the ducks

Everybody likes to feed the ducks and swans that live on the River Thames. Bakeries and cafés will happily give you their old stale bread to take down to the river bank, break into pieces and throw in the river. Children are strapped into their pushchairs or held firmly by the hand and  eagerly watch the spectacle of the water birds gliding towards the bank and then rushing to grab the pieces of bread. When you first start feeding the ducks there might be just one or two but soon many more will magically appear to join the crowd of hungry creatures. The ducks squabble and splash but the swans will often
form an orderly queue.Little sparrows might come and hop about near you on the bank hoping to catch a crumb or two. We are now told not to feed wild birds in spring or summer because it could upset the balance of nature if they don't eat up the grubs, insects and plants provided naturally for them. As the cold weather approaches though the ducks and swans seem very glad to see you appear with a bag of stale bread. If you have seen 'About a Boy' with Hugh Grant you will know of the dangers of throwing loaves of bread at ducks.
In one of my childhood books 'Silly verse for kids,' by Spike Milligan there is a short verse about swans.

Down the stream the swans all glide;
It's quite the cheapest way to ride.
Their legs get wet
Their tummies wetter:
I think after all
The bus is better.

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