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Migrating ducks take to Glendale resident's backyard pool

July 06, 2011
(Roger Wilson/Staff…)

For the handful of house guests that showed up at the Porters unannounced on Tuesday, it’s been shredded lettuce and water on the menu as the Glendale family figures out what to do with their guests.

Four ducklings have suddenly become dependent on the family after their mother flew away in a panic as Lin and Brett Porter cornered the ducklings with a net and removed them from the pool. The 20-minute-long effort had the ducklings chirping and diving under water to evade capture.

“They tried to get out of the pool, but their legs are so small they couldn’t get out,” Brett Porter said.

The mother Mallard duck flew away in the confusion and one brown, tan-speckled duckling waddled out of sight into nearby bushes on a neighbor’s property.

The Porters, who live just west of the Rossmoyne District, placed the four remaining ducklings in a cooler. Brett Porter researched the eating habits of ducklings on the Internet and when he read that lettuce is an option, he shredded some and placed it in the cooler with drinking water.

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This isn’t the Porters’ first encounter with web-footed visitors. In the last three months, several ducks have landed in the Porters’ pool, each time staying for days before moving on.

“Glendale is not known for its lakes or anything,” Brett Porter said. “I don’t know where these ducks come from, but animal control has got to investigate this because we’ve had some ducks.”

Mallard ducks are a protected species, according to Ricky Whitman, vice president of community resources for the Pasadena Humane Society, which provides animal controls services for Glendale.

The organization — which doesn’t allow animal control officers to retrieve ducks from homes — can receive an average of two phone calls every day during spring from people who have found ducks in their pools.

“It’s very, very common for us,” she said. “Mallards are migratory. They come back to the same spot every year to lay their eggs.”

To discourage ducks from staying in pools for long, Whitman suggests leaving a nearby gate open, raising the water level of the pool or placing an object that ducks can use as a ramp that would lead them out of the pool naturally.

She said people often bring found ducks to the Pasadena Humane Society, which will accept, and quickly rehabilitate them.

“You don’t want them to get too accustomed to humans,” Whitman said. “If they become reliant, they become less wild and they lose their fear and [fear] helps them survive.”

-- Kelly Corrigan

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