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Ducks find their way home

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Wade Creek Pond is home to many ducks and geese. Recently, some of the ducks were briefly relocated, but were brought back to the pond approximately one week later.A group of ducks has been returned to Wade Creek Pond after being removed last week.

The ducks often wandered between the pond and the area outside of Whispering Pines Senior Village. On the morning of Aug. 22, Whispering Pines Community Administrator Avry Davis was told by residents that between four and six of the ducks had been removed earlier that morning.

“They said that someone had come with cages and was dressed in black while trying to catch the ducks,” Davis said. “The person kept telling (the residents) that she was taking the ducks to a new home where they would be better taken care of since they were domestic and not wild ducks.”

Unlike wild ducks, domestic ducks were initially bred for meat or eggs; additionally, many domestic ducks are unable to fly.

As of Monday evening, a post in the Estacada Neighborhood Watch Facebook detailing the ducks’ removal had received more than 200 comments, many of which were critical of the decision.

In a different post in the Estacada Neighborhood Watch Facebook group that has since been deleted, Brian Zeitz wrote that his wife, Tracy, discovered the domestic ducks and thought they had been abandoned by multiple owners over time and was concerned about their well-being.

But Davis said residents at Whispering Pines have been feeding these ducks for many years, and they have a special place in the hearts of many in the retirement community.

Zeitz wrote that his wife was concerned because she witnessed the ducks being fed white bread on multiple occasions.

“They were fed bread occasionally,” Davis said. “It was the same amount that a human might eat a candy bar.”

As a processed food, bread provides ducks with little nutritional value and can be detrimental to their health.

In the deleted post, Zeitz wrote that his wife contacted the Humane Society, the Audubon Society and several private animal rescues, who all encouraged her to rescue and relocate the ducks.

As of press time, neither Brian nor Tracy Zeitz had responded to the Estacada News’ request for comment.

Kit Collins, who runs Estacada’s Out to Pasture animal sanctuary with her husband, said they had been contacted to help find homes for the ducks taken from Wade Creek Pond.

“There are several reasons why this seemed like a good idea,” Collins wrote in an email, noting that domestic ducks are an easier target for predators because they lack the natural instinct of wild ducks.

However, Collins said she wanted to return the ducks from their new adoptive home when she found out that they “are well loved and part of the Estacada community.” She hopes the ducks will be safe from predators and receive a proper diet and veterinary care.

Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita facilitated the return of the ducks on Sunday, Aug. 28.

When discussing the future of the ducks, Estacada city manager Denise Carey noted that the city code does not discuss that particular animal.

If regulation is required, Carey said the city would likely refer to the Audubon Society, since the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife does not have jurisdiction over domestic ducks because they aren’t considered wildlife.

As it stands, Yamashita said, the ducks are not under anybody’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Davis is happy to have the ducks back at their old home. As of Monday, Aug. 29, Whispering Pines had received three 50 pound bags of natural, healthy duck food.

“Our residents need the ducks, and the ducks need our residents,” she said.