Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of the City Spotlight.
Here in Yuma we are blessed with an historic and beautiful feature near the middle of town called Lake Yuma. Lake Yuma provides a beautiful backdrop for weddings, picnics, birthday parties, festivals, and countless walks with friends. It is in all of our best interest to keep Lake Yuma clean and safe for all of these activities and more.
There’s one favorite pastime at Lake Yuma, however, that is actually not as harmless as you might imagine. We’ve no doubt all enjoyed feeding the ducks and geese, or taking our children over to throw bread crumbs at the lake. This seems like a pretty innocent or even helpful activity, but in reality; it’s harmful to just about every aspect of Lake Yuma – particularly the animals being fed.
Waterfowl that are artificially fed are often found to have very poor nutrition. A diet of bread crumbs and corn is very high in carbs, and very low in protein. That’s not a good combination for any animals, including ducks and geese. When ducks and geese feed naturally, the food (natural grains, aquatic plants, and invertebrates) is widely scattered, which means the birds find it and eat it in relative seclusion. A whole flock of birds feeding from the same pile of corn is unnatural, and can be detrimental to the younger and more vulnerable geese. Additionally, waterfowl that eat in the same place where they leave their droppings are much more susceptible to the spread of disease than waterfowl that feed naturally.
It is also commonly observed that waterfowl that are artificially fed will alter their migration patterns, and even stop migrating altogether. When birds are dependent on an artificial supply of food deep into the winter, their natural instincts to move to warmer climates are ignored, and sudden cold snaps and storms become deadly.
The grass around Lake Yuma takes a beating when the area is overcrowded with artificially fed geese. The grass quickly becomes overgrazed, and the lawn becomes eroded. The increased number of droppings, which is inevitable with artificially fed geese, can leave the lawn unsanitary and unusable. Additionally, the increased numbers of droppings add nutrients into the water at Lake Yuma, which contributes to poor water quality, including algal blooms.
Let’s enjoy Lake Yuma, and the wildlife, by making sure it stays wild.