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Please don’t feed the ducks

Quack.

The City of Houston is asking residents who visit Hermann Park to stop feeding the ducks.

They said the population of domestic ducks has exploded and park workers think it’s because the ducks won’t leave because there’s too much food.

Families in Houston have enjoyed feeding the ducks at Hermann Park for decades. But now, the city says it needs to end.

“For many years people have been bringing bread to the park and feeding the ducks and families like to come and do that,” City of Houston natural resources manager Kelli Andracek said. “But it really has created some problems and the ducks are prolific breeders and the population has gotten a little bit out of control there.”

Not all of them are a problem, but…

“There’s really this one species that has this massive population at the park,” Andracek said.

That would be the muscovy.

They’re the ugly ducklings you see at the park … the ones with the warty-looking faces. The biggest of the bunch were bred for their meat and they’re not supposed to be here.

And they leave a mess.

“There’s duck feces all over the ground because there’s so many of them,” Andracek said.

Basically, the duck population is booming at Hermann Park, which as noted also means that the duck poop is piling up. Muscovy ducks, as we have observed before, are a non-native species that can cause problems in addition to excessive amounts of poop, which is what led to the city of Pearland authorizing more intense methods of dealing with them. (Absolute respect to the Chron headline writer who referred to that situation as a quackmire. Chef’s kiss, y’all.) The city of Houston is hoping that if people stop feeding these ducks, they’ll go away on their own.

Needless to say, some people ain’t having it.

[J]udging by social media responses to KHOU’s news report, it’s going to take a lot more than posted warnings to dissuade some people from the practice.

“All the fkn crime in the city and you’re worried about some ducks being fed!!! Smh,” commented one user on KHOU’s YouTube video of the duck report.

“Just let people take them home,” wrote another. “Free ducks!”

“I will feed the ducks any damn time I want,” wrote user Dave Smiling Coyote.

“These people just wanna ruin the fun!” commented Jerin Browder. “[I’m] going to keep feeding the ducks.”

Naturally, there’s been a conspiracy theory propagated on Nextdoor that has helped inflame the passions of the dedicated duck-feeders, because Nextdoor is the worst. I for one endorse the idea of these folks taking the ducks home with them, though. By all means, take that matter into your own hands.

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One Comment

  1. Concerned Resident says:

    Yeah, but Nextdoor also scooped this about two weeks before the Chron in Museum Park and the other nearby neighborhoods; https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/environment/article/injured-ducks-hermann-park-17064324.php

    This is the most compelling reason to ask people to stop feeding the ducks for right now. If the feeders care about them, they should be willing to stop for a while to see if this will help find anyone who is feeding them something dangerous that is causing this.