Cockle Bay is a community near the Auckland suburb of Howick.
It is the place I currently call home.
With a population of less than 5,000 people, Cockle Bay is never a crowded place.
This beautiful East Auckland neighborhood was once the home base for a native Maori people known as Ngai Tai.
The village, previously known as Tuwakamana, also has a historical connection to World War II.
Locals and visitors can visit the beach via a hiking trail, known as the Awaroa Walkway.
The walk is relaxing and beautiful, as it extends in either direction towards Howick Beach or the Shelly Park Sandpit.
As you walk along Cockle Bay Beach you won’t be able miss the millions of cockle shells that heavily cover the ground.
The beach is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Auckland, taking in a romantic or solo stroll.
It is also very family-friendly with a large children’s playground and plenty of climbable trees.
Bring a picnic to enjoy on the grassy lawn that overlooks the local ducks – but just don’t feed them!
James’ mom Sami is a bit of a bird expert, having worked at the Wild Bird Care Charitable Trust, and she has explained to me why it’s important to not throw pieces of food (usually bread) at the precious animals.
Visitors, while being well-intentioned in feeding the creatures, likely don’t realize that doing so can cause damage to the environment.
Birds can become reliant on human food sources and young birds can grow not learning the important skills used to forage their own food.
It can also cause them to become unafraid of people, and sadly can become vulnerable to abuse.
Not to mention the spreading of disease, bird-to-bird to bird-to-human, some of which are highly contagious and even lethal.
Bread, specifically, has poor nutritional value. Calcium deficiency, a common occurrence in pond birds, can cause badly deformed legs and wings as well as the softening of egg shells.
Also, bread that settles in the bottom of the waterways can rot and bacteria can easily contaminate the water.
Feeding also attracts larger species, deterring smaller species, and maintaining that natural balance is incredibly important.
So let this serve as a friendly reminder.
It’s highly important to respect the environment you’re in, whether it’s you’re own hometown or someone else’s. And this includes the ducks.
I hope you’re able to come visit Cockle Bay Beach sometime, and that you enjoy it as much as I do!