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Help Keep Wildlife Wild – Don’t Feed the Geese!

Edmontonians take great pride in their parks and natural areas, many of which provide opportunities for encounters with wild animals and birds. To help preserve the health of our wildlife and prevent the overpopulation of certain species in our parks, the City is reminding residents to refrain from feeding wild animals and birds, particularly geese.

You might be asking why feeding wild birds or waterfowl is harmful. Here are a few reasons why we ask for your co-operation.

Avoid Overpopulation

Feeding waterfowl can lead to overpopulation in urban parks and can have a negative impact on our environment. 

  • Large numbers of waterfowl in one area can damage the natural environment. It can contribute to over-grazing, trampled vegetation, and soil erosion in our parks.
  • Excess uneaten food can spoil, which can poison wildlife and lead to bacterial growth in the water.

Keep them Healthy

Feeding waterfowl can negatively impact their health and survival. 

  • Waterfowl lose their natural fear of humans, which is crucial to their survival and the maintenance of their instinctual behaviors. Animals that retain wild characteristics have higher rates of survival in urban settings as they do not depend on hand-outs for food and shelter.
  • Overcrowding of geese increases their stress & susceptibility to infections and diseases. Examples include Cryptosporidiosis (which can also affect humans), viruses, and parasites.
  • Feeding waterfowl can cause dietary and digestive problems for the birds.
  • Most handouts, such as stale bread, crackers and pastries, have little nutritional value and can contribute to malnutrition.
  • Feeding waterfowl disrupts natural behaviour, leading to dependency on humans for food and delayed migration.

Keep everyone Safe

Feeding waterfowl increases physical and medical risks for humans.

  • Geese approaching humans for food can become extremely aggressive, which raises safety concerns.
  • Large concentrations of waterfowl can lead to increased fecal matter in the surrounding water and on the landscape.  Increased feces are not just a sanitation issue, but can lead to a variety of diseases and water pollution.
  • Excess feed may attract other species, such as mice, voles, squirrels, and pigeons.

The City of Edmonton is committed to protecting our valued green spaces and the wildlife that call them home. Together, we can ensure a healthy, natural environment.

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