New signs deter feeding fowl at Cuddy Family Midtown Park
New signs around Cuddy Family Midtown Park are aimed at fighting the goose poop problem.
The Anchorage Waterways Council has been working on the project since 2012. With the help of a $50,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation, the group was able to purchase bus ads and four new informational plaques placed around the trail at the park.
Anchorage Waterways Council Executive Director Cherie Northon said the signs are colorful and easy to read and even small children will be able to understand the message: Don’t feed the birds.
Northon said feeding the fowl brings even more ducks and geese to the area for a free meal. That means an excess of fecal matter along the trail and in the water.
“This is part of Fish Creek, a lot of people don’t realize that,” Northon said. “It’s an open area of Fish Creek that runs back through the city into Spenard through people’s yards with a lot of fecal coliform bacteria.”
The signs also warn people about the dangers of giving bread to birds. Geese can develop a condition called Angel Wing from eating a high-calorie diet with too many proteins. It causes their wings to snap and then they’re unable to fly and migrate south for the winter.
Northon said it’s best to let the animals find food on their own.
“The geese eat grass, the ducks eat pond weeds. That’s all they need,” Northon said, adding foods like bagels and popcorn “doesn’t work for them.”
Northon said the next step in the project is to do some landscaping around the park. She said the goal is to direct people to the bike path where they can read the signs and keep the birds in the pond.
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly spelled Cherie Northon’s name. This has been corrected.
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