Explosion In Duck Population Prompts ‘No Feeding’ Campaign
Posted: November 10, 2012
HARRISONBURG - When it comes to the behavior of some of its residents, the city is crying fowl.
An overpopulation of waterfowl has formed along Blacks Run because people are feeding the animals, officials say. Large concentrations of ducks form when and where humans feed them, which can pollute the waterway, cause poor nutrition among the animals and spread disease, among other unwanted consequences.
“They’re not helping the wildlife,” stream health coordinator Wes Runion said. “They’re actually hurting them.”
The problem areas are downtown and within Purcell Park. The former poses a public safety issue from humans feeding animals, Runion said.
“You see ducks getting run over all the time,” he said.
Local waterfowl don’t need to be fed by people. They have a smorgasbord of natural options, such as worms, plant matter, roots, beetles, dragonflies and crustaceans.
The city encourages residents to enjoy the wildlife and take pictures from a distance. To promote the idea, it will accept pictures and post them on the city’s website and social media outlets.
Runion said he will soon post signs along Blacks Run that will let folks know that feeding wild animals is prohibited. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries placed similar messages at Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County and saw a reduction in wildlife, he added.
The city does not have an ordinance that assesses punitive damages for feeding waterfowl, but state code allows a game warden to enforce state regulations, which can include up to a $50 fine.
“We hope to not go to that level,” Runion said. “That’s the last thing we want to do.”
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or email@example.com