Scouts remind residents not to feed ducks and geese at city duck ponds

City officials have been asking residents for years not to feed the geese and ducks that call downtown Milford home.

But signs and campaigns haven’t stopped everyone from sharing bread and other treats with the waterfowl. So now a local Daisy Scout troop has gotten into the act, posting handouts at the upper and lower duck ponds downtown to inform people why it’s best not to feed the feathered creatures.

Daisy Troop #30347 recently installed their information mailboxes where the geese and ducks gather, and Mayor Ben Blake joined them for a short ceremony earlier this month.

The colorful handouts that the troop put together point out that “feeding waterfowl concentrates birds and increases their susceptibility to diseases, such as avian cholera and avian influenza (bird flu).”

The handout states that feeding the waterfowl creates problems for people and for the birds, creates feeding areas that are filled with droppings and feathers and that are ultimately unsanitary for people, increases conflicts between birds and humans, and weakens the gene pool of wildlife waterfowl.

In 2011 the Milford Health Department took an active stand in trying to dissuade people from feeding the waterfowl, primarily the Canada geese, in the hopes of reducing the size of the downtown Canada geese population.

Not only have the geese become a nuisance, they also create some health concerns, officials said at the time. Measures included dissuading people from feeding the geese, and using landscaping to make the pond areas less attractive to the geese.

"Well-intentioned people often believe that feeding is beneficial to the geese, but it often has negative ecological, environmental and social consequences," Former Health Director Dr. Andrew Dennis McBride said at the time.

"I hear stories from people who are longtime residents who say they would go out to the duck ponds and have picnics there," McBride said in 2011. "Now you can't."

The Daisy Scouts who have now taken up the cause to raise awareness about the drawbacks of feeding the waterfowl are local six-year-olds.

Jim Barbara and Donna Willey are the leaders of the troop, which includes Christina Ann Barbara, Abigail Guzas, Isabelle Phelan, Parker Spielman and Erynn Willey.