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Please don't feed the ducks

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Living Green in Creston member Amanda outlines reasons that feeding ducks in Riverside Park may be harmful.
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/Courtesy: City of Grand Rapids

By: Amanda

One of the reasons Riverside Park is such an asset to Creston is that it provides many opportunities to view wildlife. However, we must remember to limit the human to wildlife interactions to viewing or taking pictures, not feeding. The City of Grand Rapids has posted signs at Riverside Park to remind visitors that feeding ducks and geese can cause many problems:

-         People food does not provide the proper nutrition for wild animals. Ducks and geese can develop health problems and physical deformities if they do not eat their natural diet. In fact feeding, especially during the migratory season, may interrupt the migration cycle.

-         Feeding can make geese acclimated to people, leading to confrontations with future visitors, especially children.

-         Feeding attracts additional waterfowl to the area, increasing the numbers to a point that may not be supported in a natural environment.

-         Goose droppings get onto the shoes of park visitors and are tracked into cars, homes and businesses. The droppings also runoff into the ponds and river. An artificially increased number of birds means an increase of fecal coliform bacteria in those water bodies.

-         The extra nutrients contributed by droppings from an above normal goose population can cause algae blooms and disrupt aquatic ecosystems.

Canada geese in particular have made a very successful comeback since being almost extinct in the 1970s. We should work to maintain this success by keeping the geese healthy by NOT feeding them. More information about Canada Geese can be found on the Michigan DNR website by searching for “problem wildlife.”

A Riverside Park area resident expressed concern about this issue at the last Annual Meeting. The Living Green committee will be investigating solutions that will work for both the wildlife and park visitors. If you are interested in participating, email CNA and leave your contact information for the Living Green Committee. 

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