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City of Houston says people need to stop feeding ducks at Hermann Park

Workers say the duck population has exploded creating an unsanitary situation.

HOUSTON — The City of Houston is asking residents who visit Hermann Park to stop feeding the ducks.

They said the population of domestic ducks has exploded and park workers think it’s because the ducks won’t leave because there’s too much food.

Families in Houston have enjoyed feeding the ducks at Hermann Park for decades. But now, the city says it needs to end.

“For many years people have been bringing bread to the park and feeding the ducks and families like to come and do that,” City of Houston natural resources manager Kelli Andracek said. “But it really has created some problems and the ducks are prolific breeders and the population has gotten a little bit out of control there.”

Not all of them are a problem, but...

“There’s really this one species that has this massive population at the park,” Andracek said.

That would be the muscovy.

They’re the ugly ducklings you see at the park ... the ones with the warty-looking faces. The biggest of the bunch were bred for their meat and they’re not supposed to be here.

And they leave a mess.

“There’s duck feces all over the ground because there’s so many of them,” Andracek said.

Andracek said there are more than 150 domestic ducks at the park since they started counting three months ago.

At the same time, the city started putting up signs asking people to quit feeding the ducks.

If the signs don’t work, Andracek said the city will have to assign monitors to the park to verbally tell people not to feed the ducks.

Discussions about ducks have been a hot topic this month after it was reported that two ducks were found at the park with their bills splintered to pieces.

Andracek said it was the first time something like that had been reported and the ducks had to be euthanized.

She said nobody knows how it happened.

“There have been conversations about disease ... some type of mechanical injury ... if someone (did it) deliberately ... it could’ve been potentially dogs or some other type of animals ... just hard to say right now,” Andracek said.

As that investigation continues, the city will move forward with its plan to evict the invasive species of ducks.

By taking away their food source, they’re hoping the ducks will take the hint and move on.

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