Florala Park officials: Please, do not feed the birds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

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Florala State Park officials on Wednesday said that it is against park rules to feed ducks and other waterfowl on the park grounds.

Park Manager Chris Jones said officials posted signs three or four months ago telling visitors not to feed the animals, but it is a problem.

“It just creates a big nuisance,” he said. “When people pull up to swim and fish, the birds associate people with food. It’s like when you feed an alligator, he’s going to come back for more food.”

Jones said it’s not good for a lot of waterfowl to be near a swimming area.

In August, the Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper organization tested the waters at the swimming areas at Florala State Park.

At the time, the organization found 150 E. Coli per 100mL.

Mike Mullen of the organization cited the presence of waterfowl at one of the three beaches tests and that their behavior indicated that they were still being fed.

Samples collected on Sept. 2, were all below the standard for designated beaches.

However, Mullen said that people were observed feeding waterfowl and waterfowl were swimming back and forth along the beach areas seeking food from people.

“We are just trying to make everyone aware of our rules,” Jones said. “We just don’t need to feed any wildlife.”

Jones said he knows it’s a sweet picture to see children feeding ducks, but it’s important that visitors adhere to the rules.