The plan to remove the city’s Muscovy duck population is well under way as a community event has been scheduled to help repopulate a native species.
As previously reported by the32789, the invasive Muscovy duck species poses numerous environmental threats, from the bacteria and high nitrogen content of their droppings to competition with native species for resources. Last year, City Commission approved the start of humane removal efforts and an integrated management program that includes:
- Public education through signs, flyers, and social media.
- Reducing food sources and trimming overgrown shrubbery that provides shelter.
- Active removal that follows Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission guidelines for humane trapping and relocation.
- Re-establishment of native waterfowl environments.
According to City of Winter Park Natural Resources & Sustainability Director Gloria Eby, the relocation facility is not disclosed; however, removal procedures follow FWC guidelines for live capture with sedation to reduce stress on the birds during capture and transport.
“Cages are not in place to minimize the capture of non-target species,” she told the32789. “A trapper is specifically with each bird for this process, providing oversite and avoidance of non-target species.”
Approximately 46 ducks have been removed from Lakes Knowles and Wilbur since the start of the program with efforts expanding to several more city parks and lakes. The process has no completion date as ongoing monitoring is necessary.
“Since Muscovy ducks are migratory, long-term monitoring would be required in the event of new residency taking place,” said Eby.
While the removal of invasive species will help native wildlife, there are steps that residents can take to maintain the health of the local ecosystem.
“It is encouraged not to feed wildlife,” said Eby. “Feeding waterfowl foods that are not a part of their natural diet, such as bread, can cause illnesses.”
Wood duck populations can also be improved by building protective shelter boxes. Residents will have the opportunity to construct a shelter box and learn more about the native species during workshop at Winter Park Library on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants can install the shelters at home or donate the shelters they build to the city for installation at one of the local lakes.
For more information and to register for the workshop, please visit the event page at WinterParkLibrary.org.