Feeding Ducks and Restoring Faith in Humanity

So today I went to the little duck pond near my apartment called Beus Pond. As I arrived I noticed the ducks and geese were starting to make their way towards the parking lot where I was standing. They basically were filing in like grade-schoolers at lunch time. It seemed like a fairly peculiar thing, until I noticed a man standing behind me who informed me that they were all coming to see him. I chuckled a little thinking he was making a joke as a part of small talk, but it turns out he’s been coming out to the park almost everyday (once winter begins and the food gets more scarce) for the last 12 years to feed the ducks and geese as well as walk his dog. I made a joking comment about them flying south for the winter and that maybe they had used the wrong map app and got lost. He told me that a lot of the ducks at this pond are in fact domesticated and abandoned. They almost all have had their wings clipped and some have sustained some form of injury that prevents them from flying. Instead they’ve just learned to live in the cold and wait for him to show up so they can eat. He said they can actually tell which car is his and if he waits to long to get out they’ll all crowd around his SUV.

I didn’t think to ask his name, but this guy deserves a medal of some sort for flat out human decency. It’s not often you run into someone who is willing to invest the time or money to take care of a bunch of animals that aren’t his. He could easily at any point quit going to that park and leave them to fend for themselves, but instead he makes it a point to take care of them.

I included a few other pictures in the gallery on the post I made on Reddit here of a particular goose that caught my attention. It didn’t rush the food on the ground like the others but rather stood back and let them all eat. It seemed as though it was keeping watch on the flock. Occasionally it would honk and herd up some of the ducks it felt had had enough and lead the smaller ones into the fray. When the food was mostly gone, it honked a couple more times and all the ducks started heading for the pond and getting into the water.

I’d love to know a little more about whether or not this is normal behavior or if not, what might be the root cause of it. If any of you awesome peeps have any thoughts or info, I’d appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed! Till next time, here’s a picture of one of the Geese:
DSC_0145

Thanks!
-D

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