Feeding the ducks at Bourne Hall Lake
Posted by Nati Denniff-Jones on 20 Jan 2018
Since I moved to Ewell about three years ago, and after my son was born, I started visiting Bourne Hall to see the ducks in the lake regularly. My son loved going and it kept him entertained while I could sip a cup of coffee. Anyway, it always bugged me how people were feeding the ducks bread and how dirty the area around the benches always seem to be.
The excessive amount of duck and geese poo on the ground always put me off staying long and the fact that as soon as you arrive lots of geese are running towards you to eye up your snack!
After I joined the Ewell Village Residents Association as their social media volunteer, I realised that they were actually trying, with not much result, to stop the feeding. There had been several posts in previous newsletters about feeding the ducks and suggestions on other food alternatives. The rangers had been warning us about an increase in rat activity in Bourne Hall due to the leftover bread and food.
Also, there was quite a lot of work being done about the quality of the water in the Hogsmill river. Unfortunately excessive litter and excrement in the lake was preventing the pump from working effectively for the lovely fountain. As time went on I was starting to see a sign that I could help.
On one of our outings, where the rubbish was particularly bad, I took some pictures and decided to start my first online campaign. So, I asked Dee, from Epsom and Ewell Families, if she could help me spread the news and I posted the information on the EVRA campaign on our EVRA website and in the Epsom and Ewell Families Group.
I could have never imagined the response we got back from the people in the Village. To date our post reached almost 6,500 people and we got so many comments supporting us, thanking us and suggesting things to do.
- The rangers have installed very visible signs at the Lake requesting people not to feed bread to the ducks as well as suggestions of other good things to feed them.
- We have advertised that the Pet Shop in the Village has bird food available in little bags to take to the lake.
- And the ladies at All Things Nice have also started offering the pet shop food.
And as a result:
- We have observed a significant decrease in the number of people feeding bread to the ducks and instead using seeds, bird food, and other vegetables.
- The area around the lake has been cleaner than ever and the birds seem to be wandering around the park more, rather than concentrating solely around the benches.
- We have seen the return of two swans to the lake, which suggests there is a better balance in the number of birds at the lake and the health of the birds in general.
- The water quality of the lake has improved, and this has helped the efforts to improve the water quality in the river.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone that got involved and everyone that has been using the alternative foods to feed the ducks. Hope you are all enjoying the lake often and come the summer we get to see a cleaner and healthier environment.