Wayne ThompsonEvery day around 6 p.m. Wayne Thompson, 90, feeds the ducks at Star Lake.
Every day around 6 p.m. Wayne Thompson’s blue Saturn SUV pulls into the handicapped parking spot at Star Lake. The ducks that make the lake their home flock to the back of the car. They know who is inside, and what he is bringing. He’s been feeding them each evening for the past 31 years.
Thompson, a World War II veteran, pushes his walker, which doubles as a treat cart, to the sidewalk. There he scatters birdseed and tears bread into pieces to throw to the ducks. Some muscovy ducks catch it like a dog doing a trick.
He doesn’t care if the food gets in pedestrians’ way as they walk or run on the sidewalk. If he threw it in the dirt, he said, the ducks wouldn’t be able to see it.
Thompson does, however, care about the Canadian geese that try to eat the seed and bread before the ducks get to it.
“They could go back to Canada as far as I am concerned,” he said. “Or you could cook them up for Thanksgiving or Christmas. They pollute the place.”
When the geese encroach on the food, he throws a plastic stick at them and then walks over to pick it up so he’s armed for the next intruder. It’s just to scare them away, though, not to hit them, he said.
“They get to eat once then ducks get through,” he said.
The evening feeding ritual started in 1982, the year Thompson retired from Dyer Electric, when he would come over from his house on Bonny View Drive to feed a few white ducks.
Now, to feed the growing population, Thompson buys wild birdseed from Publix and regularly makes trips to a store that sells old bread in Alabaster to fill his backseat and trunk.