Many people like to feed the ducks and geese at Goldfish Pond, but what seems like kindness can be very harmful. Here are several reasons not to feed the ducks and geese.
Feeding ducks and geese is not good for them or the environment.
Human food like bread and chips is junk food for ducks and geese. It lacks the minerals to make strong, healthy birds. Human-fed waterfowl suffer from more illness and disease because they are not consuming their natural diet of plants, seeds, berries, shoots, insects, and aquatic invertebrates.
It interferes with nature.
Feeding wild birds like mallard ducks and Canada geese artificially increases their local population, causing them to over-winter here, which interferes with their natural breeding and migration patterns.
It spreads disease.
Higher concentrations of ducks and geese result in more feces (that is, poop) and bacteria in the pond water and on the grass in the park. Bacteria like e. coli can spread from the ducks and geese to humans. Feces and food left in the park also attract rats.
It promotes algae.
Feces from the ducks and geese pollute the water in the pond because nutrients in the feces cause algae blooms, causing the water to turn green and smell bad. It lowers the oxygen in the water, making the fish and turtles sick. Sometimes the fish die. We combat it by treating the water, which is expensive. The fountains also add oxygen to the water.
The animals living here are wild!
Feeding the ducks, geese, turtles and fish is unhealthy, can make them sick and causes pollution. Please be kind: don't feed them.
The efforts of the GPA to keep this neighborhood green have resulted in the preponderance of wildlife at the pond. This urban heart located half a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, serves as a home to not only goldfish, but to turtles, crayfish, frogs, toads, ducks, Canada geese, seagulls, and many other birds.
In July 2013, GPA member Paul Coombs wrote a report on the turtle population after an extensive study he conducted over many years. Coombs states that there are three confirmed species of turtles currently living in Goldfish Pond. The Eastern Painted Turtles are frequently seen and are a common species found in many parts of New England. Snapping Turtles are also very common, but are not frequently seen as they seldom leave the water. Red Eared Sliders are now very common; all are likely former pets that have been released by their owners. These Red Eared Sliders are a popular pet store turtle. Another species that may reside in the pond is the Common Musk Turtle, but like the Snappers are rarely seen. Coombs has not seen a Musk Turtle in about 10 years, but has observed them in the past. He estimates that there are between 50 - 100 turtles living in the pond. The turtles lay their eggs on land and they have access to the center island via the “turtle ramps” that GPA members have attached to the island. Turtles can often be seen sunning themselves on or near the ramps. Most turtles are omnivorous and feed on the fish, algae, plant matter, insects, and carrion.
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