If you've ever visited Girard Park in Lafayette, you have no doubt encountered wildlife including some cute ducks inhabiting the pond. While many of the ducks in the pond have made a home naturally, you might not be aware that sometimes baby ducklings given as Easter gifts are often dumped off at Girard Park.

In an interview with Letitia Labbie, who represents Acadiana Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation. two interesting points were learned regarding the ducks in the park.

While discussing the observations of ducks that have been sick and dying at the park, she spent time telling us about some of the things she is doing to try to help the ducks.

In the spring of 2020, a rash of duck deaths was reported at Girard Park.  Some of the bodies have been sent to the LSU Veterinary School so that they each will get a necropsy.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is also trying to get to the bottom of the cause of their symptoms which Labbie describes as more neurological in nature.

Aside from any neurological issues that may be an explanation of the duck deaths, it was also mentioned that giving bread to birds is not a good thing. It leads to something that Labbie calls "Angel Wing" in ducks. The bird's joints get twisted at the tip. She says that it can severely limit the birds' ability to fly. She recommends that if you are going to the park to feed the ducks that you bring peas, corn, cracked corn, or birdseed. The excessive feeding of bread leads to this condition she says.

Another issue regarding ducks is the idea of giving a duckling as a present, and then when the bird becomes too much to tend to, the duck owners will sometimes drive over to Girard Park and leave the animal to fend for itself. Labbie says it's just not a good idea to take a bird that is not used to a natural environment and introduce the bird into that environment. She is asking people not to drop off their ducks at Girard Park.

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