Around Town | May 31, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 31, 2013

Around Town

DUCKS AND DONUTS ... Most Bay Area cities have laws against feeding wildlife. Palo Alto does not. This presents a nest of concerns for local wild animals, particularly birds in the Palo Alto Duck Pond, Daren Anderson told the Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday night. Anderson, the city's manager of open space, parks and golf, called the tradition of feeding birds at duck ponds "a hangover from the 1930s." He said the crowded conditions caused by bird feeding spread avian diseases. What's more, the birds can't stomach the "truckloads" of processed foods like jelly donuts. Educating the public by using materials such as grisly pictures of birds with avian pox isn't having a significant effect, Anderson said. Thus, the city is now considering outlawing the feeding of critters. The commission was receptive to the idea, but Commissioner Pat Markevitch suggested a change of message. "You could try something like 'If you feed the ducks, it'll cost you some bucks.' They'll start thinking about it. It's funny, but it draws them in." Animals becoming too familiar with humans may be affecting city government in another small way. Rob de Geus, the city's division manager for recreation and golf services, said there's a squirrel who regularly visits the Lucie Stern Community Center, where his department is located. "He comes in the building and goes down the corridor to get food. We call him Stan," said de Geus, who said they regularly have to chase the furry bandit out. "It's the same guy; he's got that look."

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