New Richmond waterfront menaced by hungry gangs of birds

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio -- The village of New Richmond is full of history. These days, it's also full of fowl.

A large flock of ducks and geese has colonized the waterfront, according to city officials, marking its territory in the vigorous and prolific way only a large group of determined birds can do. 

Village officials are deploying the only weapon they have in response to the birdy bombardment: An impassioned plea for residents and visitors to please, please not feed the animals.

"I personally am an animal lover myself," village administrator Greg Roberts said Tuesday. "It's not anything as far as ducks and geese themselves. It's what they leave behind that's the problem. It can carry germs, diseases -- it's just not a sanitary condition."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio numbers among the states where salmonella is most heavily linked to the proliferation of backyard poultry such as the New Richmond flock. Only Texas, California, Virginia and Florida outperformed the Buckeye State in this dubious metric during 2017.

Roberts said feeding the birds, although it might seem picturesque, only encourages them to stay in populated areas, creating messes, begging for scraps, losing their natural foraging instincts and even attacking humans.

"The geese are quite large, and they lose their fear," he said. "The park, now, is difficult to walk through."

That's a problem for local officials, who hopes they can earn a Clermont County grant to install a new walkway on the riverfront. If hostile geese are on control, it will be hard to convince anyone to visit. 

"It's best for the geese and ducks not to be fed by humans," Roberts said. "The food they feed them is typically not good for them. It's not good for humans, either."

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