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Hope Mills Faces Battle With Pesky Feathered Friends

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HOPE MILLS — Families in Hope Mills flock to the local lake to feed the ducks and geese. However, some town leaders want the water fowl to fly away.

Tara Roccapriore loves to bring her daughter, Ally, to see the ducks at the lake.

"The ducks are happy here. The kids are happy here to feed the ducks," she says.

Town leaders are not happy. They want to relocate some of the ducks and geese. Along with the mess they leave behind, leaders say the feathered friends could cause health problems. The bacteria count in the lake's swimming area is high.

Sunday McHenry, who has lived on the lake for 25 years, does not want to see them go.

"That's why we are here. We love the ducks," she says.

Gary Thompson says he lives with the birds. They have been known to eat away at his house, swim in his pool and use his dock.

"It gets messy. The old ducks have new ducks, and new ducks don't know to migrate and they stay here," he says. "Something has to be done."

The town tried to spread a mixture on the grass to make it taste bad, but it had limited success. It is now considering a sound device to scare off the birds.

Shirley Felix, who likes to come to the park to think, says the town should just "wing" it.

"If you take the water from them, where are they going to go? It's like they don't count and we do. It's not fair," she says.

The migrating birds are protected under federal law. Despite opposition from some residents, town leaders will be working with theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceto try and relocate some of the fowl somewhere else.


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