Notes From The Wildlife Rescue Center – Winter WaterFowl Woes

by Nancy Schnell, GeesePeace

Many people enjoy visiting a community lake and watching the ducks and geese. At this time of year, we can see an amazing number of beautiful migratory waterfowl from northern states and Canada.

Although most of us enjoy feeding our backyard birds, it is not a good idea to do the same with our wild ducks and geese. Often the food people share with these birds is not healthy. Typically we see folks tossing white bread, popcorn, chips, pizza crusts etc.

While well meant, it is not a healthy food source. Wild ducks and geese have the means to obtain their own, natural healthy food. They can fly to find the safety of open water and proper food. Enjoy watching them but please do not feed them.

Unfortunately, not all waterfowl at our lakes are wild. Domestic ducks and geese, often purchased as pets at Easter, are often found abandoned at our local lakes. Domestication has rendered these waterfowl flightless. Unlike wild ducks and geese, they cannot fly to find food or the safety of open water. Domestic ducks and geese suffer when discarded and left on their own. Although they can live from 8-15 years, many do not make it through the winter due to starvation, defenselessness against predators and in some cases, freezing into the ice.

Please do not purchase domestic waterfowl unless you have permanent quarters for them. They are not good house pets and should never be released at lakes without a caretaker and shelter from predators and the elements.

GeesePeace St. Louis, dedicated to humanely controlling the population of wild urban Canada geese, have two free training classes in February. For more information and how to register please go to www.geesepeacestl.org.

Join the Wildlife Rescue Center for “Go Wild At Mardi Gras” Trivia Night on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at Congregation Shaare Emeth in Ladue. This is one of the best trivia nights in the St. Louis area! Doors open at 6 p.m. and trivia starts at 7 p.m. Prizes from first, second & third place trivia winners, best Mardi Gras mask, and best decorated Mardi Gras themed table. Outside food & drinks welcome. $175 for a table of eight. To register or for more information call 636-394-1880 or visit www.mowildlife.org.

Visit our booth at the Healthy Planet Expo, Feb. 27.

The Healthy Planet does not endorse any information contained in articles, advertisements or directory listings and we suggest consulting a health care professional before beginning any therapy or medical treatment.