Wednesday, January 16, 2008


While I remember loving to feed the ducks at the lake as a kid, I also remember giant geese running after me until I dropped my entire bag of Wonder Bread for them. I tell you those birds can run.

Columbus City Council is about to make feeding wildlife on city property off limits. It may sound like they are killing a charming afternoon activity but there are multiple valid reasons to support its passage including the health of the animals, disease control, overpopulation, etc. Selfishly I just want people to stop feeding birds in parks so I do not have to weave in between flocks of pigeons or hose down a bench to sit on it.

If people are looking to feed something hungry they should look to the multiple homeless shelters and soup kitchens that could use your help. I promise they will let you hand out Wonder Bread treats too. And if you can't stop feeding birds, look into buying a bird feeders that can be filled with tasty seeds or nectar for your backyard.

Columbus Dispatch article below.

Columbus Council proposal
Feeding critters wouldn't fly in city parks

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 6:48 AM
By Robert Vitale

Life has gotten a little too easy for ducks and geese in Columbus -- and a little too treacherous for people walking through city parks.

Legislation proposed to the City Council last night would make feeding wildlife illegal on city property, which officials hope might shorten the animals' stay in local parks as they're forced to search for their supper.

"We've created an environment where they're not living like they were," said Alan McKnight, director of Recreation and Parks. "The biggest challenge has been geese. They've become very aggressive."

And very messy. Along the Downtown riverfront and at Griggs and Hoover reservoirs, the end result of the birds' free meals -- their copious droppings -- has required more frequent cleaning and prompted worries about possible health hazards.

McKnight and Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson, who's sponsoring the legislation, said the proposed ban isn't designed to punish well-intentioned parkgoers. They promise that police won't be patrolling Columbus parks looking for children with bird feed or slices of bread.

It's a health issue for wildlife, too, Tyson said.

The California-based International Bird Rescue Research Center says on its Web site that people who feed bread and other processed foods to ducks and geese "are killing the birds with their kindness."

Bread and crackers offer no nutrition for the animals, the center says. It says human feeding also makes them dependent and less likely to seek their natural sources of food.

Some wildlife advocates, though, say feeding bans have little impact on bird populations and that the idea of health hazards from bird droppings isn't supported by research.

Dublin passed a law in 2003 that bans people from feeding ducks and geese. The Columbus legislation, which extends to all forms of wildlife, likely will go before the City Council next week.

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