Gordon the Goose book aims to halt overfeeding

05 Sep 2017

Stevenage Borough Council has launched a picture booklet to teach children and adults fun ways to help care for ducks and geese so we can all enjoy our parks and green spaces.

Gordon the Goose follows the adventures of a bird who is overfed on bread by kindly park visitors and becomes so ill he can no longer fly. The short story book is part of a myth-busting campaign to explain that bread is junk food for birds, who prefer a diet of vegetables and seed.

Feeding them too much can cause a disease called Angel Wing, which ultimately prevents them from flying. It also causes anti-social problems by making geese more aggressive, and increasing bird poo on paths, which can become slippery and smelly. When feeding, geese poo more – up to once every eight minutes - and with 200 wildfowl in the town this soon causes problems. Discarded food can also attract rats and pigeons.

Councillor John Gardner, Executive member for Environment and Regeneration, said: “Our geese don’t go hungry and while it’s fun to feed them people shouldn’t go overboard. This book is a marvellous way to get children and adults talking about the problems that can bring, and what we could do differently to keep our ducks and geese healthy and our parks clean for everyone to enjoy.
“I understand daily droppings from the 200 geese we have weighs the same as a baby elephant, which takes a lot of clearing up! So anything we can do to reduce that will help.”

The book has been written by the council’s Green Spaces Development Officer, Joel Gainsford, with drawings by freelance illustrator Katie Duffett.

Schools or other interested groups and individuals can get a copy from the café in Fairlands Valley Park, Play centres or the Customer Service Centre.