Letters to the Editor

Feed park's fowl responsibly

This is in response to Lynn Edwards' Dec. 6 letter ("Public feeding may harm fowl") on my letter of Nov. 29, "Friendly fowl need food from city."

I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Pack of North Carolina who, after reading my letter, made generous donations for food to feed the waterfowl that live in Grand Park.

I also want to thank Edwards for her letter, which was very informative and educational for all of us who feed the fowl in the park. Edwards is 100 percent correct when she mentioned that feeding them bread is harmful. After reading Edwards' letter, I also did some research on the Internet, consulted with my veterinarian's office, and spoke with the naturalist technician at Brookgreen Gardens. They all agreed that it is OK to feed the domestic fowl floating fish food, cracked corn, chicken scratch or a combination of these foods in small quantities. These are staple foods, easily digestible and not harmful to the waterfowl.

However, bread is a no-no. I no longer feed them small pieces of bread and have advised other people not to do it.

The majority of ducks and American geese in the park are no longer wild. They are domesticated. The Parks Department started to feed them several years before I started to walk in the park. The lake in the park is the only home they know. I was told that the American goose I call Abe, and who walks with me and my dogs around the park every day, was almost killed by a dog. Thanks to the veterinarian at the Ark Hospital, he is alive although he no longer can fly because his wings were broken.

During the cold weather, particularly in winter, almost nothing grows that can be eaten by the waterfowl. Many ducks and geese die of starvation in the cold winter months when food resources become scarce. A few weeks ago I found the little blind white duck dead. A few days later, a couple of white ducks had also starved.

Lastly, I want to ask again Myrtle Beach City Council and the Parks Department to please find some funds so people who maintain the Grand Park can buy some food for the fowl. Homeless people always have the option of going to a shelter when they are cold, and to a soup kitchen for a nice warm meal. What do the domestic fowl in the Grand Park have now? Nothing except for what little food few of us feed them. The Grand Park, and thus the domestic waterfowl that live in it, are the responsibility of the Myrtle Beach City Council and the Parks Department.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.