Published on December 13, 2012
A duck stands outside Tom Stapleton’s Paradise home Wednesday afternoon prior to being caught by neighbours and taken to a local farm in the area to be cared for. The duck wandered onto Stapleton’s property a few days ago and refused to leave after he fed it. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Published on December 13, 2012
Tom Stapleton of Paradise feeds a white duck, nicknamed Snowy, that showed up on his property Monday.
Stapleton had been calling various government departments, trying to find out what he should do with the bird, but to no avail. Some neighbours who own a barn caught the duck Wednesday and say they will care for it. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Fowl won’t leave after being fed by homeowner
The following may leave a fowl taste in your mouth.
But don’t waddle away — we’re not quacked.
It's a story that just might have wings.
Tom Stapleton, of Paradise, found himself in a plucky situation earlier this week after he took pity on a duck roaming his property.
You’d have to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation, he said Wednesday.
A white duck showed up on Stapleton’s property Monday. At first he didn’t think much of it, he said, but when it was still around on Tuesday he started to feel bad for it.
“We called a friend of mine and he said, ‘B’y, you know, you should go give it something to eat. If it’s a tame duck it could starve to death,’” he said.
So Stapleton, slices of bread in hand, walked over to the concrete slab the duck had been sitting on, and fed it some crumbs.
“When I did, it followed me over to the house. Now he’s on my front door and I can’t get rid of him,” he said.
Stapleton used to raise turkeys, so he’s had some experience with tame birds. He suspected the duck was probably domesticated, by the way it was acting, but he wasn’t sure what to do about it.
If it was a wild animal, he’d probably have left it alone, he said, but the fact it was clearly domesticated made him wonder if it was someone’s pet.
Stapleton also found out late Wednesday that at least three other similar ducks were sighted wandering around the community, so he concluded they probably fell off a truck on the way to the butcher’s.
Stapleton called seven different government agencies Tuesday and Wednesday to ask what to do about the duck sitting on his step — but nobody gave him a straight answer, he said.
He called everyone from wildlife officers to city hall and the SPCA, he said, and nobody could tell him what to do about the bird.
“I’ve been laughing me head off here the last couple of days. But we really gotta laugh at this. We’ve got all these high professional institutions, I would say, and all of them are giving me this runabout,” he said.
“I was really getting upset, but it gets to a point where it becomes comical more than anything else.”
Wednesday, Stapleton’s story was aired on a local radio station — then the feathers really started flying.
Stapleton started getting phone calls from people concerned about the duck.
And not just him — another man in the phone book who goes under the same initials, a distant relation of Stapleton’s, also started getting phone calls, a few of which were pretty confrontational about perceived abuses to the duck.
Some of the callers had heard it was cut up, bloody and near death, he said, although he had no idea where they got that information — he was looking at the animal as he spoke with The Telegram and it was fine.
One caller suggested Stapleton just catch the duck and take it to a local park with other resident water fowl.
But Stapleton said he didn’t want to do that.
“I can’t just take a tame duck, which could be someone’s duck, or worse, some youngster’s pet, and bring it out and drop it off somewhere,” he said.
Finally, at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, a couple from a nearby property came along with a net and caught Snowy (which is what they nicknamed the duck).
They told Stapleton that they have a warm barn, so they’d give it a good home.
He’s just glad it’s gone, he said, otherwise he’d have had to give it a bill.