THE actions of Jos Arnold are admirable in her attempt to help her wildfowl (Gazette, June 27, ' 'Please don't feed the ducks' pleads Jos, 16').

However, the Queen's Swan Marker has been appealing all winter for the message about not feeding them bread to be disregarded as it is not correct.

As a result of what they consider to be incorrect information being spread around the country, it has led to swans starving to death, with several fatalities from malnutrition caused by the lack of bread over the winter.

Swan sanctuaries and the Queen's Swan Marker say that while bread is not an ideal food, it does not actually harm them, and does not make them ill unless the bread is mouldy. They have been fed this diet for hundreds of years, and it forms their staple diet when their other forms of food are not available.

Indeed this year, over the winter months, your readers will have read of the swans travelling further and further up into Bowness town, ostensibly seeking food, suggesting they have not been able to obtain their normal bread-fed diet, and the cause of this has been real hunger.

The RSPB, while initially supporters of the Bin the Bread campaign, have now changed the wording with regard to this on their website to tie in more with the Swan Marker's advice.

The advice from the Swan Marker [David Barber MVO] also applies to ducks and geese with regard to bread feeding and, being the expert that he and the scientists are, I would tend to go with them on this matter. Many of the notices similar to Jos's that appeared in various parts of the country where swans reside have now been removed following advice.

I would not wish to detract from anything Jos has tried to do with the best of intentions, and I am only concerned about the bread fed to swans/ducks. Certainly the message about junk food from Jos is absolutely correct, can cause great harm and she should be applauded for raising the matter so very well. It has clearly been effective, so thank you, Jos.

Vivian Bywater