Mass Audubon Recommends: Don’t Feed Ducks and Geese

Female Mallard Duck Niles Pond ©Kim Smith 2013

Female Mallard Duck

From the Mass Audubon website:

Don’t Feed the Ducks

Giving food to ducks and geese (waterfowl) can create many problems for birds and the environment, and both Mass Audubon and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) discourage it. The notion that waterfowl cannot survive without human intervention is false. Ducks and geese have survived for thousands of years without handouts and will continue to do so if left alone.

In 1973, H.W. Heusmann, a waterfowl biologist with the MDFW, conducted a study at six parks in Massachusetts between mid-August and mid-September. The data gathered during the 28-day period showed that 38,500 people fed 7,800 pounds of food to ducks, which roughly translates to 6,550 loaves of bread. Besides bread, the birds consumed crackers, donuts, pastry, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, cookies, cereal, peanuts, and lettuce—a diet most people wouldn’t allow their children or pets to eat on a daily basis!

Why Shouldn’t You Feed Them?

  • Feeding attracts large concentrations of waterfowl to areas that can’t naturally support such numbers. Left on their own, ducks and geese will occupy areas that provide sufficient natural food. As they deplete food in one location, they fly to new feeding areas, often miles away. Mallards in Boston and the surrounding suburbs will readily relocate as far as Cape Cod to find open water and food.
  • Artificial feeding encourages unnaturally large flocks to gather in one place where the competition for food can cause unnecessary stress.  This may weaken the birds and make them more susceptible to disease.  Also, birds crowded into these areas are defecating in the same location where they’re feeding.
  • Alternatively, artificial feeding may allow frail birds to survive, reproduce, and diminish the species as a whole. (Mortality is normally high in bird populations; it’s a natural mechanism, important in maintaining populations that the environment can support.)
  • Feeding may encourage species of waterfowl not normally found in the area to concentrate. This can lead to an increased incidence of hybridization, which can eventually weaken the gene pool in certain species. This is a rising problem in Mallard and black duck populations in Massachusetts.
  • Deposits of fecal matter can affect water quality and compromise human health. Children can also come into contact with droppings left on the surrounding landscape. Also, birds crowded into these areas are often defecating in the same location where they’re feeding.

Winter Survivors

Ducks and geese are well suited to survive New England winters. Their feathers provide air pockets that stabilize body temperature and control heat loss. When birds fluff their feathers, they are merely increasing the air space and insulation. Waterfowl sitting with puffed feathers on a frozen pond are perfectly fine and do not need our help.

Birds and the Law

All birds are protected by federal laws under the “Migratory Bird Act of 1918,” as well as by Massachusetts state laws. Learn more about birds and the law.


For more information on Motif No.1 Day and the Red Shed Film Festival see Sarah Kelly’s post from earlier today: Motif NO.1 Day is Gonna Be Amazing

Films are listed in the order of showtimes:

Calling All Chefs, Nubar Alexanian, Walker Creek Media

Vincent in the Present, Henry Ferrini

A Flight of Monarchs, Kim Smith

Hugh Verrier: Portrait of an Artist, Ben Gadberry

Toby MacNutt: Body of Work, Ashley DeLucco & Elizabeth Rossano, Vermont Community Access Media

Candles in Paradise, Rob Azevedo

That Asian, Akiyo Nishiyima

Stillwater, Jon Halverson

Whiskey Boys, Justin Plasse, Sensorium Pictures

Monsura is Waiting, Kevin Newbury & Matthew Principe, Principe Dynamics

Here And Now, Julian Higgins, Innerlight Films and Cinelicious

The Waiting Room, Jaret Sears

Sailing & Art, Christine Schmitthenner

Greenheads, Gordon Baird

Bless It, Michael Kelly, Trust The Vibe

The Granite Stoke, Ryan Scura & Dylan Ladds

Life by Lobster, Iain McCray Martin

This Perfect Place, Paul Van Ness and Kristina Lindborg

The Red Shed Film Festival is part of the Motif No. 1 Day Rockport Arts Festival. Screenings will be held at the Peggy Brenner Room, Rockport Public Library, at 17 School Street.

The Brenner Room is on the second floor; take the main staircase and turn left at the top, take another left at the end of the hall and you’re there.
For the documentary shorts, there will be audience voting for the favorite first, second, and third places.


Motif No.1 Day 2015 (M1D:15) is Gonna Be Amazing

Five days away from the best M1D in 65 years (really). Film, Dance, Poetry, Music, Art, activities for kids and tons of community events are planned.

FILM: (look for GMG goddess Kim Smith’s clip!) The Red Shed Film Fest at the Rockport Public Library

DANCE: The T-Wharf tent featuring the Rockport Dance Academy and Fight or Flight Aerial Theatre.

MUSIC: The Dock Square tent features the Mari Martin Band, Pesky J. Nixon and Glass Onion. The Shalin Liu features a FREE community concert and an Instrument Petting Zoo.

WORDS: The School Street Tent: Magnetic Poetry Slam, Words Interactive, Words Before Dinner: the Poetry of Cape Ann.

ART: motif 2015 is a show featuring fresh, new work curated by Bob & Jill Armstrong of Iartcolony Gallery in Rockport. Artists from Cape Ann, Boston and beyond have re-imagined the Motif in everything from sculpture to paintings to video installations. A gallery walk will also be part of the festival.

COMMUNITY: Rockport Elementary School 3rd Grade Art Show, the M1D 5k & Fun Run to benefit Rockport Public Schools, Thacher Island Committee, Sandy Bay Yacht Club, Rockport Cub Scouts, Millbrook Meadow Committee, Addison Gilbert, SISU Fitness and more!

FOOD: Top Dog will have a food booth at the School Street Tent, Blue Lobster Grille and That Nutty Redhead will be set up in Dock Square, the New Year’s Rockport Eve Food Booth will be in Harvey Park.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES: Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest with prizes sponsored by The Ice Cream Store, painting, sketching, a Story Walk and Make-a-Book craft sponsored by the Rockport Public Library and much more!

Print out this handy Schedule of Events and bring it with you to Motif No.1 Day. The CATA trolley Park ‘n’ Ride will be running all day. Follow us on Twitter @rockportfest to stay up on the festival haps (do people still say that?) #M1D #rockportrocks



90 Day Commit to Get Fit Program

Cape Ann Wellness

The 90 Day Commit to Get Fit Program is helping people break through behavior road blocks by providing nutrition education, fitness experience and stress management. Meet sisters Rorie Philbrook and Carol Dagle – 2 participants who achieved real lasting results! Info session tonight @ 6:30 at MAC

To Learn More about this highly successful program, go to

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Saturday May 16 One World Coffeehouse last show this season- Meridian and Charlee Bianchini

The One World Coffeehouse, 59 Main St, Essex, MA (street level entrance of  the U. U. Church), is pleased to offer a split bill on Saturday, May 16, 8 PM, with the singing duo Meridian and singer-songwriter Charlee Bianchini.  

Each group will play a set, with an intermission in between to sample the delectable sweet, teas,  and coffees.

Meridian, known for their intricate harmonies on traditional and contemporary folk music, consists of Gloucester’s Olivia Gale and Colin de la Barre. Meridian photo credit Jason Grow

Charlee Bianchini, has been making her mark as a gifted singer and writer, starting with her local roots, then branching out as she traveled meridian photo credit Jason Growoverseas and back home to her beloved Gloucester.

Both of these talented offerings for the May 16th will give the One World Coffeehouse audience an evening of breathtaking vocals and thought provoking lyrics. Don’t miss this chance to welcome Meridian and Charlee Bianchini to the stage.

Call 978-768-3690 for reservations, door opens at 7:20, $15, payment made at the door. for more info.

A Few Words From The Drama King

So the person who couldn’t find Cape Ann Giclee from doing a Google search on a map tells me that I need to redo gmg,  and I need to chill out and that I’m a drama king for pleading with people to send their press releases to other contributors while I’m on vacation.  Now here’s what I propose she does and what she may or may not understand in the media business.

You know when we get the most subscribers? When I go off on rants.  When there’s controversy and when it’s not just pretty pictures.   This is not to in any way shape or form discount the pretty pictures and awesome contributions from everyone but I can rattle off a dozen fantastic photographers that have blogs or musicians that have blogs or cooks that post recipes.  People love the sum of it all all together.   What she should do,  just like when she proposed that “we” in quotation marks hold a city wide yard sale and when I told her to organize it,  I haven’t heard a peep about it since.  And then she writes a lengthy comment criticizing the way I handle things.  Here’s my proposal to you- start your own frickin blog.  Put in the tens of thousands of hours promoting it to get it to the size of audience it has so that your awesome group of contributors’ work gets recognized and commented on, thereby keeping them motivated,  and then,  when you get it to that spot you can make it as generic and sterile as you want it,  without any “unprofessional” rants or whatever you’d like. 
Come on now,  get to work.  I’ll give you a whole list if links on how to start a blog if you’d like.  I suspect you’ll put in about ten posts worth of content together and then,  on your best day when you get about 100 hits ask yourself if it’s worth it and I hope you keep going.   I hope you keep trying to find interesting content and place your content relentlessly in front of the audience most likely to embrace it and build your subscribers base one subscriber at a time.  Every single day.  Tweeting,  Google +ing,  searching for online message boards that might be interested in that content, and putting the links in front the of them, hoping you earn more dedicated readers.  Out of 1000 blogs that start my guess is that 5 continue to post weekly after the first year and maybe 2 post daily after the first year and maybe 1 posts 4-8 times a day every day after the first year. 
So go ahead.  Buckle your chinstrap.  Get to work.  Start your blog and stick with it through the building year when a big day is 100 views.  Stick with it in the second or third your when you might reach 1000 views per day.  I wish you nothing but the best of luck.

Corliss Art Rock Found

The “Art, Rock” I left at Corliss landing was found by Nathan and his Daughter.

A note from Nathan;

What your doing is pretty cool. I’ve lived in Gloucester my entire life and only left to attend college. We just bought a house that I’ve been tirelessly working on for over a year now. I brought my now wife; to the Fisherman’s Memorial Park when we were 16 years old thinking it was the best, most picturesque and scenic point in all of our Island city and now we live there.
My daughter and I go to the Corliss Landing about 3-4 times a week before I drop her off at the Riverview Preschool.

I can’t tell you how excited she was to see the rock sitting there with the artwork on it. She was even happier when I told her that I think it was OK to take it home.
I don’t have a picture of her with the art rock but I do have these photo’s from today’s gorgeous morning.
I see that from the website you may be at least familiar with where I live and maybe if you’re in the neighborhood someday inspiration may strike, if not I could toss you a cup of coffee or a beer.
  Thanks again,

Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Update

Rick Roth writes ~

Your 2015 Special Edition, 25th Anniversary Issue of the CAVPT Newsletter is speeding toward your domiciles as I type this.  Thanks to Colleen Anderson, Nick Taormina, Tracy Bowen and the Fabulous Bevins Family. If you want to recieve a copy of your very own, make sure we have your snail mail address, which you can inform us of by responding to this email.

We’ve been doing some more swamping with Nick Taormina and MERHS Green Team Scholar Ben Alger.  More vernal pool surveys. Starting next week we’ll be setting some turtle traps on Essex County Greenbelt property, hoping to find Massachusetts Threatened Blanding’s turtles.  If we have a population on Cape Ann, we certainly want to know about it, so we can make sure the habitat remains Blanding’s-friendly.

Thursday  May 14, 2015  4-5pm
Meet a live kestrel at the Get Outside Center at Brown’s Mall on Main St. in Gloucester.

And, the same day, 5-7:30pm Spring Fling- Kestrel Educational Adventures Fundraiser
at Latitue 43 on Rogers Street in Gloucester.  Complimentary appetizers, cash bar, raffle and live music.
Tickets available for $15 at

On Friday, May 15, 2015
Visiting Scientist Day at O’Maley School
Sam Bevins and I will be among several scientists to visit the school.

Wednesday  May 20, 2015  8-11am
Saltonstall School (in Salem MA) Sustainability Fair
I’ll be there with native New England snakes.  Anybody want to volunteer for this one?

And… don’t forget:
Big Giant Benefit Yard Sale for the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team and Kestrel Educational Adventures
Saturday  May 23 (Rain date May 30)
Behind St. Peter’s Parking Lot, Commercial Street, Gloucester
This is how it works-  You gety to clean up your house, basement, kid’s room, neighbors’ yard, etc… and bring the stuff to us on the morning of the sale between 7:00 and 9:00 am.  Have something too big to bring us?  Give a call and we may be able to pick it up.  Please, no TVs, computers, mattresses or junk.  Rick 978 281 3480.
We will need lots of volunteers to help set up, sell stuff, break down and clean up.


If Eyes are the Windows to the Souls…

If eyes are the windows to the souls, what are front doors to the homes that we love?  I have a quirky affinity towards front doors.  When we can’t afford to do the renovations that we’d so love to do, I find myself sprucing things up…or maybe just mixing things up…by throwing on a fresh coat of paint, changing a wreath, looking for door knockers, etc.  I am also somewhat obsessed with quarterboards….but that is a blog post for another day.

These are a few that have caught my eye recently.