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Second mallard skewered by a dart

Rescuers will try to catch both ducks again today. The second wounded duck was discovered Friday.

By MAUREEN BYRNE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2001


Rescuers will try to catch both ducks again today. The second wounded duck was discovered Friday.

SEMINOLE -- When employees of Bardmoor Outpatient Center arrived at work Friday morning, they were shocked at what they saw: two mallards with darts in their necks.

They were expecting to see a dart lodged in the neck of the male duck, but now his female companion had a dart pierced through her neck as well.

The ducks are distinguishable by their coloring. Male mallards have a white band between their green heads and rust-colored chests, while females have brown bodies with white tails.

So their was no chance at confusing the two, the employees said.

"I still can't believe that they both have one now," said Cher Bahret, a technician at the Morton Plant Mease medical facility at 8787 Bryan Dairy Road.

A rescuer for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was expecting only one injured duck when he pulled into the center's parking lot Friday morning.

Chris McCarthy saw a duck with a dart through its neck, but Gerilyn Greenway told him the duck was the female mallard -- not the one he was there to capture.

The male duck, which McCarthy had tried to catch on Thursday, had been there earlier in the day but was gone now.

"I don't know where he went," said Greenway, a customer service representative for the outpatient center. "It doesn't make any sense. He usually doesn't leave her."

McCarthy tried to catch the female mallard with a net attached to a long pole. But she got spooked and flew away.

This morning, SPCA rescuers will try again with the help of Charlann Mason, a rescue volunteer for the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores.

A large retention pond is located behind the outpatient center. Just about every morning, the mallards waddle across the facility's canopied driveway.

When the ducks showed up Wednesday, employees and patients noticed a dart lodged in the male's neck. Several of the employees tried to catch the duck, but it flew away.

They didn't see him the rest of the day. Bahret called the SPCA on Thursday to ask for help.

Bahret, who has nursed back to health sick Muscovy ducks from the nearby retention pond, wonders who could do such a thing.

"That's what we need to find out," said Jay McGill, a humane officer for SPCA. "But the main thing now is to catch them and get those (darts) out. We'll try our best to catch those ducks."

- Reach staff writer Maureen Byrne at 445-4163 or byrne@sptimes.com.

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