Feeding the swans, geese and ducks on Watkins Lake seems like a fun, harmless, even helpful activity. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.   According to the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Humane Society, feeding waterfowl (or any wild animals for that matter) is extremely harmful to them and to us because:

  1. Feeding causes waterfowl to come too close to people and lose their natural fear of humans. They become easy targets for people who do not respect wildlife and would hurt them.

  2. The natural line between humans and wildlife becomes distorted.  This leads to confusion in the waterfowls’ native instincts and can lead to aggressive behavior, such as biting the hand that feeds, attacking humans, etc.

  3. Waterfowl become dependent on “people food” which is the nutritional equivalent of junk food for them.  They can easily become malnourished and die.  Feeding the wrong kind of food to baby waterfowl for even a day or two can permanently damage developing muscles, bones and tissues, making survival impossible.

  4. Waterfowl lose their ability to find their natural food if fed artificially, blunting their native survival skills.  This is why any artificial feeding is bad, even if the food seems more in line with their natural diet.

  5. Artificial feeding can lead to a large concentration of waterfowl (including geese) which encourages the rapid spread of disease.

  6. Artificial feeding pollutes our lake.  The digestive systems of waterfowl are not designed for “people food,” resulting in the build-up of unnatural fecal material.
  7. We will be denied a permit to do our goose round-up if the DNR suspects the waterfowl are being fed.

PLEASE DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ALL THE LAKE RESIDENTS – WITH AND WITHOUT FEATHERS – AND DO NOT FEED THE WATERFOWL.   If you have additional questions, feel free to call the Michigan Humane Society Rochester Hills Wildlife Dept. – 248.852.7420, ext. 224.