“We have too many ducks.”
That was the conclusion of the staff and some of the residents at an Apartment Community I once managed. Lots of feathered friends. They were fond of a man made lake in the center of the community. Those ducks were a bit of an institution in the area. I would sometimes get funny calls from some of the local business people….”Hey, mister, some of your ducks are over here at my store. I thought you ought to know.”
They’re not MY ducks, man…they are free ducks living their lives.
But the thing is ducks eat…and that almost always leads to duck poop. Lots of ducks eating means lots of ducks pooping. (I’ve done the math). It gets a little messy. So we needed to thin the herd so to speak.
My staff and I had discussions about just how we would accomplish removing the ducks. The goal was not to remove ALL the ducks…but rather just to get the population down to a manageable level.
Our head of maintenance, Victor, decided we needed duck traps. He and his team built duck traps out of wood and chicken wire. It turned out that luring ducks into the traps was not easy. At one point I walked out to see my guys standing behind a tree, holding on to a rope that was attached to a stick propping up the wooden chicken wire duck trap some 50 feet away….
…waiting for a duck to wander under the trap where they had sneakily put some “duck bait”.
Wiley Coyote would have been proud.
Predictably, and hilariously, that did not work. Even more hilariously, we had a member of the team who was an experienced duck catcher who let that whole cartoon play out before revealing her expertise in this area. Her name was Yolanda but we all affectionately referred to her as “Loca-Yo”.
Loca-Yo is one of my favorite people.
Loca-Yo grew up on a farm in El Salvador where they had, among other things, ducks. She explained that you can simply pick up a duck by their leg. She explained that ducks are not that bright and walked over near one of the ducks, then turned her back to the duck (which made her non-threatening), took a couple casual backward steps toward the duck and then reached down and picked it up.
Feathers went flying everywhere!
Before you know it I have a staff of 11 running around snatching ducks from all over the property and loading them in “duck traps” in the back of my red truck. A quick trip to a local wetland area…..and problem solved.
Fast forward a couple weeks and what do you know….the cutest thing ever. A mama duck leading a line of baby ducks across the lake. Aaaawwww…life is good.
Wait there’s another family of ducklings….and another, and another, and another! Uh-oh… We’ve got a problem. Mother Nature wants there to be ducks.
…and here’s the thing, do you know what the survival rate is for ducklings in the wild? It ain’t good.
Each tragic passing was reported to us in great detail by a horrified resident.
We try a few things but with no real success. The duck population explodes and we eventually concede that Mother Nature has taken us down….replacing all the removed ducks plus some.
Don’t mess with Mother Nature.
It was a learning experience and a fun one. Every time I think about it…
…it quacks me up.
(See what I did there?)
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