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October 30, 2009

The  Town Fathers are having a difficult time over what to do about the large number of semi-wild ducks and Canada geese that make Canyon Lake Park their home.  Over the years these fowl have found hand-outs and safe harbor in the Park, and have multiplied.  Between the ducks and the geese, there’s probably close to 2000 of them coming and going from Canyon Lake.

Unfortunately, these good birds are inclined to leave copious amounts of their calling-cards around the lake, on the sidewalks, and around some of the sitting areas in the Park.  This has always been the case.  I can recall warning our kids not to step and/or sit in the goose-doo when we took them to the Park to feed the geese and ducks.

But, either parents are not so tolerant nowadays, or the critters have multiplied way beyond their numbers “back in the days.”  Complaints about excessive goose-doo and aggressive waterfowl have found their way to the City Council and “studies have been undertaken.”  Unfortunately the good biologists making the studies came back with the recommendation that the City prohibit folks from feeding the waterfowl at Canyon Lake Park.  That was unpalatable for lots of residents that considered the feedings to be beneficial to the birds, as well as a time-honored tradition.

So the study was quietly shelved and everyone hunkered down in hopes the matter would blow over.  Maybe, it was thought, the State would just let the City kill off some of the waterfowl at Canyon Lake Park, thereby eliminating a goodly amount of goose-doo and providing a few genial, fat mallards and Canada geese  to beg  park users for scraps.  Alas, not so lucky.  Now Game Fish & Parks has stepped forward to make itself perfectly clear about the plans to rectify the situation.

The State will not be issuing any certificate enabling the City to kill off problem waterfowl unless, and until, the City enacts and enforces a ordinace prohibiting the feeding of waterfowl and wildlife within the City limits.  The head of the State’s wildlife damage management program told the City Legal & Finance Committee, “It doesn’t make sense to attract birds in and then ask to kill them.  That’s where it starts and ends with me.  You create the problem and, at the same time, you want to kill to solve the problem.”

So now the City is going to have to tell residents to just get over all the goose-doo, or its going to have to take on lots of citizens that love to feed the birds.  And while I have some sympathy for those folks, having encouraged my young’uns to engage in the practice long ago, what the chairman of the City’s Urban Wildlife Committee said does make a lot of sense.  He pointed out that feeding wildlife unhealthy human food, like stale hot dog buns and bread, isn’t good for the birds.  We’re not providing  the waterfowl with nutritional food; lord knows, if I fed my grandkid a steady diet of processed carbohydrates like that, his mother would kick my butt.  It’s healthier to let the waterfowl forage for themselves, they’ll make healthier food choices.

I’d much prefer the feeding ban.

— Jim Margadant

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 30, 2009 6:24 pm

    Really tough (impossible?) to enforce a feeding ban. Rochester, Mn has let it get way out of control with the geese. They’re big, aggressive and now fearless. They’ve completely destroyed lawns and parks with their grazing and crap. “Doo” doesn’t really capture how slimy the stuff can be.

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