You could be harming birds without even knowing it.

Feeding the birds is one of those simple pleasures in life. Tossing bread crumbs, watching the flock scramble to get a bite is actually doing more harm than good. Bread is bad for birds. Really bad.

Bread hurts bird's stomachs and can make them sick. It also lacks the right nutrition or calories birds need to survive. So, when birds eat bread they think they are full and then don't eat the food they do need.

The lack of nutrition and calories can kill birds. A black-capped Chickadee will freeze to death overnight, with its stomach full of bread, according to The Backyard Naturalist.

Credit - Megan Stanaford via Facebook

In New York, most waterfowl die-offs in the past 10 years have involved artificial feeding.

The bread also pollutes the water and causes nasty surface algae, which kills fish and gives birds diseases. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says, 2,000 mallards and black ducks were killed in an outbreak of Duck Virus Enteritis in Central New York.

Hundreds of ducks were killed in an outbreak of Avian Botulism In Cheektowaga. A local ordinance was later passed to ban the feeding of waterfowl.

Another fatal disease, Aspergillus, occurs when food is scattered too liberally. It piles up and becomes moldy.

Diseases don't just affect the ducks either. Humans have been affected too. In Skaneateles, swimmers contracted Swimmer's Itch, caused by a parasite that was emitted from ducks attracted to artificial feeding at the town park.

The best thing you can do for the birds is to stop feeding them artificial food and just enjoy their beauty.

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