Newport Beach City Council to remove ducks?

Marty

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From the annuls of "how dare those ducks dirty our water."


Excerpts from Newport Beach City Council meeting minutes:

"...(since) the island and the waters of the Grand Canal have been overrun by ducks and their natural byproducts..." It seems NPB and California Department of Fish & Game officials have convened a few noodling sessions to cook up ways to skirt the "migratory" classification of the island mallards.

Since the mallards have loitered in the area for so long - unable to pull themselves away from the feast of free handouts - they no longer migrate".  Therefore, NPB officials hope to evade the federal law protecting the waterfowl by defining them as something other than migratory and have them removed.




(Edited by Marty at 10:20 am on June 5, 2002)
 

EL CAZADOR

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Here are several articles which have appeared in the DAILY PILOT (the local Newport and Costa Mesa fishwrap)

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Newport Beach trying to duck the law
City officials say they may have found a way around a federal rule that bars the removal of migratory birds.
By June Casagrande


NEWPORT BEACH -- City officials think they may have found a solution for a duck problem that so far just won't go away.

Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff said the city is talking with a private company that handles animal relocation to find a legal and humane way to move ducks and mallards that frequent the Grand Canal on Balboa Island.

A new city ordinance went into effect earlier this year that forbids people from setting out large quantities of food and water for ducks and mallards. The idea is to discourage large numbers of the animals from congregating and creating odor and bacteria problems such as the ones common in a small area of the Grand Canal. But in the months since the ordinance has passed, not much has changed there. So city officials may again get creative.

A U.S. Department of Fish and Game rule that forbids moving migratory birds has caused city staff members to believe their hands are tied when it comes to mallards. Unlike the white ducks that are classified as domestic, mallards are a migratory species.

But, as city staffers have learned through talks with Fish and Game officials, the Grand Canal mallards stopped migrating a long time ago because the food and water put out for them there took away any incentive to leave.

"We think there's a legal way to do it," Kiff said. "We have a relocation proposal we're looking at."

One of the biggest concerns of hiring animal controllers to move the birds is making sure they don't return.

"If we spent thousands of dollars and then the ducks came back, we'd look pretty foolish," Kiff said.

Kiff said it is not yet known how much the operation would cost or where the ducks and mallards would be relocated -- only that the city would be careful to observe the letter and spirit of laws designed to protect the animals.





Comments & Curiosities -- Peter Buffa
We haven't heard the last of Newport's duck saga


The ducks are back. Quack. It's always something, isn't it? If it isn't ducks, it's coyotes, and if it isn't coyotes, it's naked Chinese stowaways. It's a constant battle, I tell you.

As you may recall, the last episode of Bunty and the Ducks, not to be confused with Elton John's "Benny and the Jets," took place in November. Longtime Balboa Island-Grand Canal resident Bunty Justin liked to feed the ducks, a lot. Bunty would feed the ducks, then feed them some more. The ducks liked that. As fast as Bunty could put out the food, the ducks would gobble it up. Food, gobble, food, gobble -- it became what physicists call a self-induced cycle.

Bunty's neighbors, however, shared neither her nor the ducks' enthusiasm for lunchtime at Bunty's. First, there was the sheer force of numbers -- at times as many as 100 ducks. That's a lot of ducks. That's also a lot of noise. As you know, ducks have a hard time remembering to use their "inside" voice. They have one word (quack) and one volume (loud). The biggest problem, though, was what the ducks did with all that food once they gobbled it. It's much the same as what we do, only worse.

The city got involved when concerns were raised about the amount of duck waste that was making its way into the harbor. Thus, some months later, a city ordinance was passed that said, until further notice, be kind to your web-footed friends whether or not they are somebody's mother, but do not under any circumstances put out large amounts of food or water for them.

Any questions? Very well then. Done. Next item.

But since then, a strange thing has happened -- a very strange thing indeed. The ducks won't leave. They miss Bunty terribly, and they understand about the new ordinance and all, but they just won't leave. Frustrated with the quack attacks, the city turned to the U.S. Department of Fish and Game for guidance and assistance. "Can you give us guidance and assistance?" the city asked. "Our ducks won't leave."

According to Department of Fish and Game officials, who are very wise in the ways of ducks, the little beasts refuse to leave because they have lost their incentive to migrate. After years of overly generous ,if not gluttonous, feedings, they are convinced that Balboa Island is the Promised Land, the land of milk and bread crumbs, and nothing will sway them in that belief.

Next, the city talked to a company that specializes in animal relocation. Yes, there are such things. If you have animals that need relocating, they will relocate them for you, for a fee, either a flat rate or by the duck, whichever you prefer. They will meet with the ducks, explain the relocation options, and then transport them in a humane and caring manner.

Seemed like a plan, until the U.S. Department of Fish and Game reappeared and said, "Do you know what those are?"

"Umm, ducks?" replied the city.

"Correct," said the Feds. "But not just any ducks. Those are mallards. And mallards are a migratory species. Nobody can move a migratory species. No one, no way, no how."

"But we thought they lost their incentive to migrate?" said the city.

"That's their problem, not yours," said the Feds.

But the city remains hopeful. According to Newport Beach Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff: "We think there's a legal way to do it. We have a relocation proposal we're looking at."

The details are still being worked out, and there's no word yet on the cost or where the displaced ducks would be relocated, but these things must be handled delicately, my little pretty, delicately.

It's hard to know where a duck's head is, but I would think they have pretty strong preferences about relocation. Water is an issue. So are dogs. If I were a duck, I would insist on a city with a leash law. And nothing near freeways or major arterials.

Actually, I sympathize completely with the city. We have had a number of excellent animal adventures in Costa Mesa over the years. And when it comes to cities, residents and the animal kingdom, the story seldom ends well.







Between the Lines -- Byron de Arakal

Meantime, behind door No. 2 we find some wily massaging of meaning unfolding in the persistent flap over the gaggle of stubborn ducks who refuse to leave their encampment on Balboa Island. You'll recall that the island and the waters of the Grand Canal have been overrun by ducks and their natural byproducts, thanks to certain island residents who've taken to furnishing the fowl with great volumes of grub.

Fretting and frustrated over the noise and odor and alleged contamination these feathered legions have brought to this fairy tale nook of the city, the City Council outlawed duck feeding. And it also hatched a strategy to round up and relocate some number of the throng for relocation.

That plot, at least where the mallards are concerned, appeared to run afoul of federal regulations prohibiting the capture and movement of migratory birds. And the U.S. Department of Fish and Game classifies mallards as migratory birds.

Now if the entrenched mallards were fixing to thumb their bills at city officials, they might want to hold off. It seems the city and Fish and Game officials have convened a few noodling sessions to cook up ways to skirt the "migratory" classification of the island mallards. And it appears they've concocted one.

Since the mallards have loitered in the area for so long -- unable to pull themselves away from the feast -- they no longer migrate. To wit, says the city, the ducks are no longer migratory birds.

Hmm.
 

Marty

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I know!  They're FERAL Ducks.  With big nasty teeth.

Oh, wait.  That was the killer rabbit.

Sorry.
 

KID CREOLE

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Trap'm and haul there butts up to Mendota, we deserve it!
 

Jay

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Shoot 'em with bows & flu flu fletched arrows.
 

Jay

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I actually was not too far off. It should be:

"Carpe Momen" - which means to grab, seize or pluck the impluse or moment.  

Thanks Marty.
 

Marty

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I thought you wanted to say " seize the duck!"

:smile-big-blue:
 

songdog

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Years ago there use to be a duck club down in that general area.  Never seemed to have a problem with too many ducks then...
 

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