Don’t feed the ducks

by Terry Headlee. 0 Comments

Some of our readers reacted harshly to a photo we recently published on the front page of the newspaper.
The Feb. 27 photo featured a small boy feeding popcorn to some ducks at Culler Lake in Baker Park.
Big mistake.
The reason, as some of our readers astutely pointed out, is that feeding ducks is not only a municipal infraction, but also can be dangerous to the water fowl for a long list of reasons.
The day before we published the photo I reviewed it and was warned by several staff members, including the photographer who shot it, that publishing the photo might anger some readers.
But I liked the photo and approved it for publication.
If I had to do it over again – I wouldn’t. And it’s safe to say I won’t make the same mistake again (and that also includes kids riding bikes without a safety helmet).
The main reason for the turnaround is that I didn’t fully consider the consequences of how harmful feeding ducks (or geese or any water fowl) can be.
And it’s not just they poop a lot, creating both water quality issues and hurting aesthetic appeal in and around the lakes. That’s bad enough.
But certain foods, such as bread, while seemingly harmless, can carry harmful, polluting organisms that are then ingested. Ducks can also mistake white objects for bread (or popcorn) and then end up eating Styrofoam and plastic rings.
And that’s probably reason enough to keep your bread and popcorn at home.


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