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March 17, 2020
Don’t feed the geese

Duck and goose poop ranks right up there with dog waste when it comes to causing high bacteria counts in the Lynnhaven River.

That’s because an unnaturally high concentration of ducks and geese live year round on our waterways, which means an unnaturally high concentration of poop too. This mixture of domestic and wild waterfowl are encouraged to gather in huge numbers by handouts of breadcrumbs and corn from well meaning citizens.

Feeding the ducks is a little like motherhood and apple pie, yet it’s time to bite the bullet and stop feeding our feathered friends. That simple step could help to eliminate up to a third of the river’s fecal coliform!

Besides, nobody ever said breadcrumbs were nutritious duck food! Waterfowl can also suffer from disease that spreads easily among overly large concentrations of birds. This can be particularly unhealthy for wild ducks and geese that drop in to feed with local birds because these birds are less immune to disease than the locals.

Less than 100 years ago, the Lynnhaven River was a waterfowl haven. Far more wild ducks and geese than we have today wintered on the river, but the birds migrated north in spring and pollution was flushed from the river.

Today, our local populations don’t leave. It is obvious that many more of them live at a place like Mount Trashmore than could live there if people weren’t feeding them. They get fat and happy and bring even more ducks and geese into this unnatural world. And of course, that means more poop too.

For more information, go to: www.vbgov.com/parks

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