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You Can Watch and Enjoy the Wild Ducks, But Please Don't Feed Them

Spokane Parks and Recreation asks public for its help

Release Date: 3/8/2010 12:15:00 PM

Contact: Steven Nittolo, 625-6692

Signs have been posted by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department in Manito, Cannon Hill and Riverfront Park encouraging the public to STOP feeding ducks and other waterfowl.

“We are finding that we have way too many ducks, attracted by those who feed them, in an ecological environment that cannot support them in a healthy manner,” said Steve Nittolo, Horticulture Supervisor for Parks and Recreation.

The public may enjoy feeding ducks in Spokane parks, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful to ducks and humans as well. Here are the primary reasons that feeding ducks actually does more harm that good:

· Contrary to popular opinion, bread is not nutritious for waterfowl

· Poor nutrition results in malnourishment

· Too many ducks in an area can spread disease

· Ducks become tame and unable to escape predators

· Duck droppings create water pollution in ponds

· Birds can potentially spread disease to humans

Food handouts often result in large numbers of birds competing for very limited food supplies in small, concentrated areas. Such crowding and competition for food, combined with the stress of less nutritious food and harsh weather, increases their susceptibility to disease.

The end result of this seemingly kind act of feeding waterfowl can result in a continuing cycle of the birds being subjected to diseases that can spread as easily as humans spread the common cold.

Research by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Migratory Bird Management shows an overpopulation of ducks and other birds increases their susceptibility to life threatening diseases like avian cholera, duck plague and avian botulism. An infected duck may then spread the disease to many other birds by infecting the water supply.

The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department staff is working diligently to ­­­improve the water quality of park ponds, to manage the number of ducks in the area, and especially to sustain a fun and safe environment for all who use the parks.

If you care about the ducks, you’ll stop feeding them and allow them to return to their natural habits.

About Spokane Parks and Recreation

City of Spokane Parks and Recreation is responsible for the professional management and prudent caretaking of more than 4,100 acres of developed parks and conservation land. The Golf Division maintains and operates four championship municipal golf courses, including Indian Canyon, Downriver, Esmeralda and the Creek at Qualchan. Park Operations has responsibility for the maintenance of all park land and park facilities in the City of Spokane including Riverfront Park, Manito Park, Gaiser Conservatory and the many city-wide gardens, Finch Arboretum and the Urban Forestry Program. The Recreation/Entertainment Division offers classes, special events, athletic leagues and activities for youth, teens, adults, seniors and persons with physical and mental disabilities. It also operates Riverfront Park attractions, activities and events, and provides support for community centers, senior centers, the Northeast Youth Center, Corbin Art Center and outdoor swimming pools. For more information please visit spokaneparks.org

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