Remember to take care of ducks
by The Press and Standard | November 16, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 13, 2019 at 12:05 pm
By JASON JONES
Limping like a drunk on a peg leg, a duck at Gladys Whiddon Park tries to navigate its way around the pond injured from being entwined by fishing line.
Is it a fish pond or a duck pond? It’s Gladys Whiddon Park in the middle of Forest Hills, where ducks beckon for food, and every now and then, a catfish is pulled from the pond on a pole and hook, much to the excitement of the many kids who go there to play on the playground, chase the ducks and watch catfish being caught on bended rods.
According to the director of Walterboro Parks and Recreation Ryan McLeod, “There are about six to eight different species of duck and geese at the Gladys Whiddon Park,” affectionately named “The Duck Pond.”
Even though called the Duck Pond by many, some call it the Fish Pond because of several types of fish beholden to the lure.
On an average day, visitors normally see at least one fisherman. However, on a busy day, there might be 10 people fishing from the pond and trolling about the edges in search of the big catch. Many times, though, people, especially children, will leave fishing line about the park and near the dock where the ducks congregate in search of food.
A duck will approach the pier, in search of either food or some shade from the harsh Southern sun, and become victims of fishing line. They only know they abscond with food, but not the danger of ending up with their floppy web feet entangled in what was left by fishermen. They limp around, dragging their foot across the rough parking lot, and eventually lose that appendage so that they can no longer move around. So they bury themselves in the brush around the pond where they slowly meet their demise.
Everybody loves to feed the ducks, some will even eat out of your hand, but according to McLeod, “the carbohydrates in the bread that most people throw out for the feathered ones leads to ‘angel dwarfed wing’ which suppresses their ability to fly.” So the public should beware not to feed the ducks bread, hamburgers, pizza, French fries or even cereal. Feeding the ducks will also domesticate them and which puts them at danger from other predators. McLeod said, “If you must feed the ducks, feed them greens like kale” and frozen peas.
According to Janet Kinser from the non-profit organization Keeper of the Wild, the life span of the ducks is shortened by feeding them the wrong food, such as bread. As far as the danger from fishermen, when a duck gets twine entangled around its legs, “there can be a bone infection that might lead to the death of the duck.”
There needs to be an awareness that discarded fishing line and improper feeding are life-threatening for the ducks. Those who enjoy time at the pond should take care of the ducks. Feed the ducks, but first research what is healthy for them. Fish at Gladys Whiddon Park’s pond, but be mindful not to leave tackle behind that might be harmful to the ducks.
Be mindful. Be pro-duck.