Deborah Robbins Millman, Director, Cape Wildlife Center | July 26, 2014 03:24am ET
Deborah Robbins Millman is the director of Cape Wildlife Center, one of New England's largest wildlife rehabilitation centers and a leader in rehabilitating endangered and threatened New England species. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
For many, feeding birds at ponds and parks is a cherished childhood memory; one they lovingly recreate for their children and grandchildren. Yet tragically, thousands of birds die annually due to a condition overwhelmingly caused by people who don't know this beloved activity can be deadly.
"Angel wing" is a deformity commonly found in ducks, geese, swans and other waterfowl. There has been little scientific study done on the condition, yet most wildlife and waterfowl experts agree the overwhelming cause of angel wing is an unhealthily high protein and/or carbohydrate-based diets. The disorder causes the last joint in one or both wings to unnaturally twist outward, rather than lie flat against a bird's body.