The message on the brochure is clear: DO NOT FEED WATERFOWL. You Can Help Waterfowl by NOT FEEDING Them!
The signs next to the water are equally as unambiguous: DO NOT FEED THE GEESE.
But the reality is, about a year after the start of a campaign to deter the feeding of waterfowl at the Milford Duck Pond, people are out there nearly every day doing just that.
“The wildlife does better when they learn to forage food on their own,” says Deepa Joseph, deputy director of health at the Milford Health Department.
Joseph noted a brochure available at the health department that goes into detail about the negative effects of feeding waterfowl.
“Feeding waterfowl low quality foods, such as bread, chips or popcorn, does not provide the birds with the necessary nutrients they need for survival,” the brochure from the state Department of Environmental Protection reads. “Feeding often results in dietary deficiencies in wild birds.”
The brochure also warns that feeding areas are often insanitary and harbor diseases like avian influenza or bird flu, which is transmissible to humans.
A book called “The Soggy Truth” was released last October and presents to Milford youngsters the potentially harmful effects of feeding waterfowl. Milford resident Ron Berlen wrote the book and it has been shared at preschools and daycares in the city, Joseph said.
“The thought was start educating at a young age,” she said.
The book is part of a larger initiative called The Soggy Truth Project.
A message on the project’s website reads, “If children knew that bread was bad for birds, would they still want to feed it to them? We think the answer is clearly ‘no way!’ We would like to see the birds eating what is natural, healthy and abundantly available.”