Silver Lake Park in downtown Dover, DE is an all around great place! Paved walking paths, a playground, a “beach”, and picnic pavilions are just some of the things at your disposal when you visit there.
One of D’s most favorite activities in the world is to feed ducks, and Silver Lake just so happens to have year round feathered residents. They are quite used to the routine so they enthusiastically swim over when new visitors approach with treats.
There are going to be a few instances during the creation of this blog that I stand on my soapbox (“Don’t Make My Kid a Murderer…”) and this is one of them, but keep an open mind.
From the time I was a toddler I too enjoyed feeding ducks and geese, I mean who didn’t love doing that? I still do! I think it’s a great way to introduce little ones to wildlife in a safe environment where they have a positive interaction and go away with lifelong memories. BUT, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way and unfortunately, most of us have been doing it the wrong way our whole lives. I only learned in recent years how harmful it can be to feed bread to birds. It is essentially junk food for them and can cause a problem called angel wing syndrome. This condition is essentially a death sentence unless the bird is rescued and taken care of for the remainder of its life. The bird is rendered flightless which can make them easy targets for predators.
|Goose with angel wing at Silver Lake|
You can read more about it here:
Never fear, you can still continue the tradition with your kids but leave the bread at home. Instead, here are some things you can bring along:
- Cracked corn
- Wheat, barley or similar grains
- Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)
- Rice (cooked or uncooked)
- Birdseed (any type or mix)
- Grapes (cut in half)
- Frozen peas or corn (defrosted, no need to cook)
- Chopped lettuce or other greens or salad mixes
- Vegetable trimmings or peels (chopped)
- Duck food pellets
When you choose to feed appropriate items to these animals, you are teaching your children to be a responsible steward of nature. It is also a great opportunity to teach your children to respect animals in their habitat by not chasing them, screaming at them and giving them space. So feed (and teach) on, folks!
When you get done feeding the ducks, why not take a walk over the spillway to the playground and “beach” area? Bring your buckets (always!) and shovels and have fun building sandcastles. I personally would not go swimming in the lake, but splashing in the water and playing in the sand is probably just fine. Who says you need to drive to Rehoboth to enjoy beach activities??