Friendly, well-meaning neighbors and wildlife can make for a sour cocktail, as Barbara Nash of Elkins, West Virginia, discovered. She thought the ducks in her yard were cute when she moved there in 2006. Since then, the population of nesting ducks has ballooned, with neighbors frequently venturing onto her property to watch and share human food. The ducks stay all winter and prevent her from maintaining a garden or a manicured yard.
Ms. Nash petitioned her city council, leading to action by a city council member and the USDA Wildlife Services. Forty-nine ducks were euthanized by USDA Wildlife Services in May, 2010, in spite of a petition with 1000 signatures to leave the ducks alone.
There is a lasting solution, however: education. If the ducks were not lured from their natural river habitat by the promise of human-food handouts, then they may return to their normal population levels and migration patterns. The potential for disease and pollution could be minimized or avoided all together. And Ms. Nash might well get her yard back.
The mayor of Elkins found out about The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie, and plans to use it in a city-supported education campaign. “We’re pro-active advocates of education, art and consensus building, ” said Elkins mayor Duke Talbott in a phone call. After hearing a description of the movie’s human-inclusive narrative aimed at social change through better understanding of the needs of people and wildlife, Talbott said “We want to accomplish exactly those goals.”
For further detail:
- “Woman gets ducks in a row, going to Elkins Council” – The InterMountain.com
- “Elkins Residents Have Wild Ducks Euthanized” – wboy.com