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Enough with the bread already

After mama duck's nest was raided in mid-April, she came back to a planter at the Lincoln Building in downtown, Spokane, Wa., and laid three more eggs. Today, May 14, 2010, all five of her ducklings were born. Gary Grissom (Academy Mortgage loan officer), the new duckman, has been watching over mama duck from his office window for the last month while she's been sitting on her nest. He's been fascinated by the duck's behavior as well as the humans who came to visit her. She had regular visitors. One woman came by every day to feed her half a piece of brown bread. The sparrows would swoop in and steal the bread most of the time; she only ate three little pieces. Another woman would bring the duck water, which she never drank.  Five people named the mama duck, Grissom said. He didn't write down the names, but he thinks one man named her Francine. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
After mama duck's nest was raided in mid-April, she came back to a planter at the Lincoln Building in downtown, Spokane, Wa., and laid three more eggs. Today, May 14, 2010, all five of her ducklings were born. Gary Grissom (Academy Mortgage loan officer), the new duckman, has been watching over mama duck from his office window for the last month while she's been sitting on her nest. He's been fascinated by the duck's behavior as well as the humans who came to visit her. She had regular visitors. One woman came by every day to feed her half a piece of brown bread. The sparrows would swoop in and steal the bread most of the time; she only ate three little pieces. Another woman would bring the duck water, which she never drank. Five people named the mama duck, Grissom said. He didn't write down the names, but he thinks one man named her Francine. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

 

 

The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department is pleading with park guests this summer: please don't feed the ducks. For the last two years, the parks department has spent a lot of time, energy and money on educating park guests about why feeding the ducks bread is a bad, bad idea. Bread is like fast-food for ducks: they get fat, yet are malnourished because they stop looking for their natural food when full of bread. Easy access to bread brings more ducks to the park ponds than what the eco-systems there can handle and the water quality becomes nasty; bad water quality hurts other wildlife such as turtles and frogs - and finally, some ducks never migrate because they stay where the fast-food is readily available.

 

Despite signs and public education, a press release from the Parks Department today states that people are now again feeding the waddlers and it's especially the pond at Manito Park that's suffering from increased bread dumping. At one point Parks staff rounded up excess ducks and adopted them out - this may have to happen again.

"We are working on a landscape design plan and cost estimates," said horticultural supervisor Steve Nittolo. "We will definitely be moving forward with a restoration of the pond and a general clean up to improve water quality, but as a first step we need the public's help to stop feeding the ducks." Read more here about why feeding ducks bread is a bad idea.

And think of some alternatives: children can have just as much fun putting up a birdfeeder in the backyard and watching the many different birds that will show up there. It's prime humming bird season and the little guys are hungry - a feeder is less than $10 and sugar water can easily be prepared at home.




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Pia Hallenberg
Pia Hallenberg joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. She is currently a reporter for the City Desk covering Spokane Valley city hall and community news. She also writes news features about people and events.

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