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The Muscovy ducks of Pearland

The things you learn.

The bird sanctuary city of Pearland is encouraging residents to take matters into their own hands to address the growing problem of Muscovy ducks that have reportedly taken residence in the city.

Known for their red, warty-spotted faces and black, white, and brown plumage, Muscovy ducks are often considered a “problem duck.” Feral populations of Muscovy ducks are known to be aggressive and can cause property damage, transmit disease and create problems through competition with native species, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the city of Pearland, the ducks have been spotted throughout the city, often frequenting the neighborhoods of West Oaks and Westwood Village. In response to the growing population, the city has advised residents they can lawfully shoot or dispose of the animals themselves.

“The general public has the legal authority to address the ducks—including Muscovy duck nests, eggs, and hybrids—on their property, without the requirement of a permit,” the city stated in a Nov. 1 release.

Residents are allowed to shoot and kill the ducks on their own property if: they are allowed permission by their respective homeowner’s association or landowner; if they are located outside of city limits; and if they use a nontoxic shot or nontoxic bullets, according to the release. The discharge of a firearm is “generally illegal” inside city limits.

If a resident destroys a duck within the city’s legal parameters, they must dispose of the animal through burial or incineration. Residents are not allowed to keep, consume, sell, offer to sell the duck or release the duck in another location.

Instead of shooting, residents can capture and transport the animals to Hidalgo, Starr, or Zapata County. A 2010 law deemed Muscovies an invasive species in the U.S. with the exception of these counties, where they are considered native and can be released, according to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition (TWRC.)

Turns out Muscovy ducks have been a problem for a few years now, and not just in Texas. And now it’s pitting neighbor against neighbor, as some just want to be kind to their web-footed friends while others…do not. I literally had no idea about any of this. Thanks to Mary Flood for flagging this.

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5 Comments

  1. Melinda Bedrossian says:

    You should be ashamed. This story goes on national TV. Surely you can come up with less destructive methods. The children are learning as they watch the adults. Ducks can be fed birth control in feeding zones. You do not have to slaughter the ducks because you allowed this problem to get out of hand before you decided to deal with the issue.
    Calm intelligent solutions are needed .

  2. C.L. says:

    A .177 or .22 caliber pellet is a whole lot cheaper than avian birth control medication.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Muscovy ducks are raised by farmers for food. Why is it illegal to eat these ducks?

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    ~”….known to be aggressive and can cause property damage, transmit disease and create problems through competition with native species….

    ~”….an invasive species in the U.S.”

    This sounds oddly familiar. Maybe we need to build a wall?

    (and yes, I’m aware that ducks can fly, just going for the ironic humor here, thanks)

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    @Marilyn: I agree with you. I think that it’s crazy to allow people to be shooting off their guns in the city, and, of course, humans are an aggressive invasive species that can cause property damage, transmit disease, and create problems through competition with native species. However, if the people are going to shoot the ducks, why not use them for food. Just think of all the poor people who could get a nice, healthy Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Of course, career politicians who make up these laws are generally unaware of reality.