City in Florida votes to remove invasive ducks labeled as destructive

Muscovy ducks – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Maria Grin

Muscovy ducks are primarily black and white with red coloring around their eyes. The Winter Park City Commission decided unanimously on Wednesday for a measure to send them on their way.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC) classifies these Muscovy ducks as an invasive species. Trapper Isaac Rempe says the birds are both destructive and aggressive. For example, these animals are known to leave waste behind.

“Their droppings create algae blooms,” he said, “they go to the bathroom as they fly and roost. We can also see problems in sidewalks and swimming pools where they cause bacterial issues. Animals eating this are getting sick.”

Once they’ve built their nests, they become extremely protective and territorial.

“They are a nuisance, they are aggressive. We’ve had reports where the ducks have been charging at small children, and pets, and showing aggression at that stage,” said Gloria Eby, Winter Park’s Director of Natural Resources and Sustainability.

“There are multiple options that are out there. There’s a very huge program in south Florida where they just come out, throw the net, catch the net, and it causes a lot of trauma for the birds,” Eby said. “We’re opting out of that.”

FWC said the ducks are known to bully native Florida birds away from their food sources when breeding with them.

“When we see Muscovy ducks mixing with swans, geese, even our pecans which we see on farms, it can create a lot of issues, not only with them bullying and domineering other native species out of food, but also corrupting the gene pool within the native species,” Rempe said.

The city announced that it would hire trappers to move the birds to a facility where they could dwell while being prevented from fleeing. Visitors to the public parks believe their removal is a good idea.

“They do harass other animals, other ducks, things like that,” said Rachel Snider, who was visiting the city’s parks.

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