What’s your reaction to the four new ‘Don’t Feed the Wildlife’ signs on the Sesqui Plaza?

'Don't Feed the Wildlife' signs on the Sesqui Plaza DSC07918
A month ago, I attended a Parks and Rec board meeting when the issue of geese droppings was discussed. I wrote:

There was also discussion about the pros and cons of an ordinance that would prohibit the feeding of ducks and geese, as that’s seen as a contributing factor to the problem on the Sesqui Plaza. In the meantime, the City will place some “Don’t feed the wildlife” signs there.

The signs are now up. Four of them. Some people aren’t happy. Nfld News’ Suzy Rook published an online column yesterday on the issue: Please don’t feed the animals:

Suzy RookA few people, I’ve heard, aren’t happy with the signs the city posted along the Cannon River asking downtown visitors not to feed the wildlife. But there are good reasons for the request, said city Streets and Parks Supervisor T.J. Heinricy…

While the signs, he said, are getting the point across, he’s gotten complaints from those who want to bring their children to the river to feed the ducks and geese. And while Heinricy understands how much fun it can be for a kids to interact with wildlife, he’s asking that we all do our part to keep Northfield tidy and safe: Don’t feed the animals. We’ll all be better off for it.


  1. The keyword is wildlife. You feed a domesticated pet. If these were bears instead of geese, would you still feed them?

    August 25, 2011
  2. Beth Kallestad said:

    Love them! Thanks so much TJ and City of Northfield. They are wild animals. Let them be. You can still look at them and enjoy them. How about trying fishing instead?

    August 26, 2011
  3. john george said:

    Is it OK to share your chips with the occasional skateboarder?

    August 26, 2011
  4. Helen Albers said:

    The geese and ducks have always been on the West side of the Cannon.

    When the steps down to the river were added to the Harvest Plaza, this encouraged feeding

    the birds, and they became East-siders!

    Why not remove the steps, and let the birds go back to the West side again?

    August 27, 2011
  5. john george said:

    Helen- If my memory serves me correctly, the geese used to inhabit the limestone rip-rap on the east bank, before the steps were put in. People fed them then, also. I’m sure the feeding doesn’t help, but I don’t think eliminating it is a cure-all. I imagine the geese were there before the town was settled, but possibly not in such profusion. They, along with deer, are good examples of how some wild animals have adapted to human presence to their own advantage.

    August 28, 2011
  6. Nancy Malecha said:

    I walk past the steps several times a week, and I must say that I have noticed far less droppings since the signs were installed. Certainly, I appreciate the ability to walk by the river without having to hop-scotch around all the poo. I echo what Beth said: the geese and ducks are wild animals, and they do not need our breadcrumbs to survive. Let them eat what they’re supposed to eat and enhance the scenery, rather than blight it.

    August 29, 2011
  7. Helen Albers said:

    The limestone “rip-rap” as you term it, and the steps were added when Harvest was installed, John. (Also, the beautiful Teak benches, which the birds “visit.”)

    Nancy, you added excellent comments as “birds do not need our breadcrumbs to survive.”

    August 29, 2011
  8. john george said:

    Helen- There was some type of stone along that bank before the statue was installed. It is a common practice along rivers to keep the shoreline from washing away. It was re-done when the steps were installed. I think that cutting off the food source will help a lot to keep the geese away from that memorial. Grass is one of the main foods for geese, so perhaps if it was removed from Ames Park, that would deter them from congregating there.

    August 30, 2011
  9. john george said:

    Helen- If you take a look at Griff’s pictures in the blog header, there is one view of the dam and east bank of the river taken from the 2nd. Street bridge before the Harvest sculpture was installed. It will be on the far left as the pictures change. It shows the bank lined with stones.

    September 5, 2011
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m amazed. Putting up these ‘Don’t Feed the Wildlife’ signs on the Sesqui Plaza has made a huge difference, as far as I can tell. Props to TJ Heinricy and the PRAB.

    The issue is still on the PRAB’s radar, I’m told, as the geese are still a problem elsewhere.

    September 25, 2011
  11. john george said:

    Griff- What is probably just as amazing is that people are actually heeding the signs.

    September 28, 2011

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