A reader sent The Morning Star a picture taken in a north end Vernon shopping centre parking lot, not really close to any water, save maybe Swan Lake and BX Creek, showing about 100 ducks on the pavement near a tree.
“Food is plentiful at this store,” wrote the reader. “Some (of the birds) get killed by motorists. Is this a good or bad idea?”
One Vernon wildlife expert said it’s a bad idea. Very bad.
“Absolutely not, do not feed them,” said Pete Wise, owner/operator of Wise Wildlife Control Services. “There’s a bylaw against it. Don’t feed the ducks. Don’t feed the geese. It only causes huge problems.”
Among the problems, said Wise, is the birds won’t fly south for winter, rather they’ll just stay around the North Okanagan, waiting to be fed.
“It keeps them here and it causes a large problem,” he said. “They’re just hanging around. It’s a miserable existence. Once you start feeding them, they just keep coming, bird after bird after bird, which is sad.”
Wise said feeding ducks or birds in a parking lot is just like feeding geese or ducks on a beach.
“There’s goose crap all over the place,” he said.
Signs are posted on area beaches asking people not to feed ducks and geese. Wise wasn’t sure if the same signs are posted in Vernon’s Polson Park, a popular gathering place for birds and locals who like to feed them.
“It should be mandatory as far as I’m concerned, no feeding of wildlife, period,” said Wise.