Duck advocate wants a quackdown on feeding at Kirkcaldy pond

On a visit to FFP Towers, Amby proves highly dexterous in handling six-month-old pet Cayuga duck Max.
On a visit to FFP Towers, Amby proves highly dexterous in handling six-month-old pet Cayuga duck Max.

If you go down to the woods today you might be in for a big surprise - but only if you are naughty enough to feed white bread to the ducks!

That’s because there’s a wild vigilante lurking in Beveridge Park (6ft -4 in height and often seen dangling from a hoop) who thinks nothing of pouncing on offenders.

All in a friendly fashion, of course...

Meet Amby Stanyer Hunter, self-titled ‘Duck Advocate for Fife’, and his pet Max - a six month-old Cayuga.

“I’m his mummy,” explained the 35-year-old pole dancing instructor.

“I bought him as an egg from eBay and 28 days later I had a duck!”

It’s his love for these birds which has inspired Amby to start a facebook campaign called ‘Stop Feeding the Ducks’.

“People think they are kind feeding the ducks bread and it’s cute taking their kids to interact with wild animals but, in fact, they are doing more harm than good,” he said.

“Bread has no nutritional value to a duck at all - it causes obesity coupled with malnutrition.”

The glut of summer food offered to ‘supersize-me’ ducks - who normally eat bugs and grass - left them incapable of learning skills needed to forage in winter, he added.

As a result, the life expectency of ducks in a public park is around two years, compared to eight years plus for their wild counterparts.

“We’re on a one man/one duck mission to educate people,” explained Amby.

“After all, it’s the only wild species that people do this to - they don’t randomly go up to a wild horse in the countryside and feed it.”

So if you find yourself being approached by Amby, don’t be scared.

“I’m just there to educate!” he laughs.

Meanwhile, Mike Flynn, chief superintendent with the SSPCA, advised: “While we don’t want to discourage people from feeding ducks, we would hope they would feed them with more appropriate foods,” he said.

“We would advise white bread does not have sufficient nutrients for birds and encourage anyone wishing to feed them to use brown bread, grain or vegetables, as these provide more vitamins and are better for overall health.”

Scott Clelland, team manager at Fife Council, said the authority took the well being of all animals and birds within Beveridge Park seriously.

“Whilst we acknowledge that visitors are keen to continue this practice we need to consider the impact on the wild fowl,” he commented.

“We will seek some professional advice on how best to manage the birds and their environment.

“Any advice we receive will help us to engage with the public in understand what is best for these wild visitors.”