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Battle Point Park too fouled by fowl?

"When Bob Skodis visits Battle Point Park with his dog, he usually brings home more than pleasant memories.The Fletcher Bay resident says his frequent sojourns are followed by a noisome period spent cleaning bird droppings off his shoes, as well as from his dog's paws and fur.It's really disconcerting when you get home and you realize you've got duck crap on your shoes and your rug, he said.Now Skodis is lobbying the Bainbridge park district to ban the feeding of ducks and other water fowl in local parks. Handouts of stale bread and other goodies, he believes, exacerbates a problem of once-migratory birds loitering and fouling the park grounds.When somebody goes up to the edge of the lake with bread, the ducks fly right up, 100 or more, Skodis said. To a certain extent, they rely on that. That's why they stick around.And I'll tell you, some of those Canada geese are getting awfully fat.The park district board will take up the issue at its regular meeting, 7 p.m. April 13 in the Strawberry Hill Center.Several species of birds, including Canada geese, ducks and the sea gull, frequent the park, particularly at the north end near the pond. A casual stroll in some areas does reveal grass littered with the prolific and formidable leavings of water fowl. Skodis contends that the droppings constitute an unhealthy and messy hazard for children and pets frolicking about the grounds.Kitsap County parks, Skodis notes, have a don't feed the birds policy. When he made inquiries to the health district, he said, he was told to take the issue straight to the park district.Dave Lewis, park district director, conceded that the bird population at the park has been on the increase, including a recent incursion by gulls.But adopting a no bird-feeding policy would be problematic, he said, because there are a lot of people who genuinely get enjoyment out of it.Park groundskeepers are cognizant of the presence of the droppings, and do take that into account during maintenance.We do our best to keep the pathways clear, Lewis said, but obviously, the park is one that invites people to walk out onto the lawn.Lewis said that Thursday's discussion would serve to open the issue, with the likelihood that other park districts would be contacted to see if they have had similar problems.In a letter to the district, Skodis said rampant bird droppings were a problem in Seattle's Gasworks Park several years ago, and that the Seattle park department went to the extent of killing the birds' eggs to get rid of the problem.He claims no expertise in the habits of water fowl, he does believe some might leave if they weren't getting handouts from park-goers.If I got more Draconian about it, people would be writing letters about what a jerk I am, Skodis said.They do anyway."

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