Feeding ducks is ruffling feathers in Cape Girardeau - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Feeding ducks is ruffling feathers in Cape Girardeau

(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS) (Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)
(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS) (Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)

Feeding the ducks at a neighborhood park like Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau is a tradition for some.

"It's nice to be able to come out here and sit and be able to watch them," said Dessirae Alizondo, who frequents the park with her 4-year-old son, Avian.

Turns out, though, doing so can actually cause more harm than good.

That is why the City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department is asking residents to either feed the ducks and geese a food that is in their diet or refrain from feeding them all together.

"It's taking away that need to go find their own food," Candice Davis said, with the Missouri Department of Conservation. "It's taking away the vitamins and minerals in the food that they would normally eat."

According to the parks and recreation department, it can also cause the birds to develop Angel Wing. The syndrome can affect the bird's ability to fly and protect itself. It is caused from a high-calorie diet.

Instead of bread or cereal, the parks and recreation department is asking residents to feed the ducks something you might find in nature.

Ideas include:

  • Cracked corn
  • Wheat, barley, or similar grains
  • Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)
  • Rice (cooked or uncooked)
  • Milo
  • Birdseed (any type)
  • Grapes (cut in half)
  • Frozen peas or corn
  • Earthworms or mealworms (fresh or dried)
  • Chopped dark, leafy greens (not iceberg-type lettuce)
  • Vegetable trimmings or peels (chopped)

"We all love the ducks, we love the geese we want to take care of them and the best thing is to let them find their own food," Davis said.

The city says don't expect to see signs forbidding people from feeding the ducks and geese.

Some community members find it therapeutic and relaxing.

However, people like Alizondo have already quit feeding the birds.

"[We] kind of just stay back unless they come up to us," Alizondo said.

She says the ultimate goal is making sure she can always take her son to interact with the birds.

"Just to see your child interact with animals is a good thing so I'm glad that he has that experience," Alizondo said.

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