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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Western Springs: Do not feed the ducks?



Western Springs is one of my favourite places in Auckland for myself and my visitors. You will read many posts in my other blog. Only yesterday, I took a friend I haven't seen for almost forty years and she loved it. Her husband was saying that perhaps all the junk food was hurting the geese which had funny feathers sticking out of their wings. 

I did not dare to reveal this piece of news that was in last week's Central Leader. Apparently, the Auckland City Council was meant to put up signs seveal weeks ago to stop the public from throwing bread into the lakes to feed, zillions of ducks, geese, swans, pukekoes and eels. The park rangers report that the bread was causing botulism and killing the ducks.

But no official steps were taken, and when the rangers tell people not to throw bread in the water, they tell him to bugger off. 

Lucky for me, nature has taken it cause. The rain came, the temperature went down, and botulism was reduced. We are all back feeding the ducks and no more telling the ranger to bugger off.

Seriously, if I go on a Sunday afternoon, when hordes of well meaning families have thrown loads of bread into the lake, the feathered friends are stuffed up to their necks. I do see the ducks not eating, because they have had so much food. The bread stay floating in the water. A very ugly sight.

Perhaps,  people can be told not to throw bread in the lakes on Sunday afternoon. The water engineer sees another problem. The weir that water drains to the stream are filled with leaves and flotsum. If the weirs are cleared, perhaps the bread will drain off.

I remember another little pond at the Domain next to the Auckland hospital. I used to go and spend my lunch time feeding the ducks. In May when the official duck shooting is opening, you will see a zillion ducks seeking shelter in the tiny pond. You hardy see the water at all. Years later when I came back from Singapore, I found botulism had killed the ducks, and the pond was a smelly mess. The water engineer said this can be saved. In deed, some smart water engineer had widen the pond, put in a few fountains that pumped air into the water, and the pond is now a beautiful family and tourist attraction place again.

This phot was taken beginning of the month, the ducks and geese were very hungry. It was a Thursday. The geese were so hungry that they dashed towards us fifty meters away to greet us.

3 comments:

SeeThroughGreen said...

LOL! that brings back so many memories! I love to feed the ducks and the pidgeons lol! we dont have any swans and very few canadian geese but the ducks are always so fun and full of personality. I think the only thing that saves our water here is that we dont have any individual duck ponds that remain stagnant, they all are a part of a lake or stream or something like that with a constant influx of water. The fish help too as they eat everything that goes to the bottom.
If there is a quite hardy species of fish that is native to NZ waters, maybe the solution is a man made falls and a controlled fish population..?

Ann said...

Actually, Western Springs is a natural spring, there is continious flow of water. I guess, this summer was exceptionally hot that cause the botulism. The lake is very very big, if they clean up at the weirs, the problem should be solved.

Having said that, the feathered bird population do seem to have increased over the years.

The people have been feeding the ducks from the beginning of times, it is unlikely to get them to co-operate if asked not to feed. But if they were told to feed on the land, that might decrease the problem.

There are giant fish.

SeeThroughGreen said...

wow! I didnt even know that problems like that could happen in big lakes, makes me stop and think..
and what kind of fish are in there? I love fish!

About your comment,
i guess there are 2 earth days. We celebrate on April 22, I suppose that if we celebrated it on March 28th we wouldnt see much earth, only snow :( That had me a bit confused as well and I think I confused my friends. I have a few Kiwis on my blog and they all started talking about earth day and then I asked my friends what they were doing and they said that earth day wasnt for a month lol!

thanks for stopping py though! talk to ya soon!