A few weeks ago I went to explore a duck-feeding spot of my childhood – Swanshurst Park in South Birmingham. It wasn’t a happy homecoming.
I found just two little mallards, cowering for cover amidst dozens and dozens of Canada Geese, with a very large flock of seagulls thrown in for good measure.
The pavement on one side of the pool was virtually impassable, unless an intrepid dog ran through dispersing all the geese. Even then the amount of goose poop around didn’t make for a welcoming thoroughfare.
How could this once idyllic place have become so dominated by geese and seagulls? The answer was all around. Bread. Everywhere. The culprits? People wandering along with carrier bags full of the stuff and literally dumping it on the ground. I saw it with my own eyes.
In today’s Birmingham Mail, a journalist rather bluntly calls for the geese to be culled. But surely the geese are only a symptom of a problem – there’s too many geese because there’s too much food?!
Even if half the geese were culled, with over-feeding so prevalent, the numbers seem likely to rocket again soon after.
So it seems time to stop over-feeding at Swanshurst? It’s people ruining the park, not the geese?
Despite the background noise of a big city, for a brief moment everything seemed tranquil, with the Canada Geese floating serenely by. It’s a great place for a lunchtime walk.
The peace had been shattered a little earlier when someone dumped – literally dumped – a load of something or other at one end of the pond, resulting a noisy crowd of geese and pigeons on the pavement by the MAC. Not exactly responsible feeding – but then the bread feeders were around too, despite a large sign asking people to not do so.
The other end of the pool was however much quieter, where I found this pair of willing volunteers to try a blend of oats and duck pellets. They didn’t leave a crumb!