A dart attack at Carrie Blake Park has left at least three ducks hurt and a great many park visitors upset.
David Kolbo, this summer’s docent/host for the park, said he was told by “young people” at the park that about a month ago a group of teens were seen taking potshots at the ducks with blow darts.
“When adults approached them, they ran off,” he said. They haven’t been spotted since, he said.
Two of the ducks have disappeared and may have died. Kolbo said one had a blue-tipped dart lodged in its hip. The other had a black dart buried in its neck.
The third, thought to be a mother hen, has an orange-tipped dart that pierces her neck.
The staff at Greywolf Veterinary Hospital has offered to operate on the bird, but so far efforts to capture her have been unsuccessful.
“The bird is smart enough to not let anyone near her,” Kolbo said.
Jaye Moore, who operates the Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center in Sequim, said she has received numerous phone calls. She said some callers are angry, saying the sight had made their children ill.
She also said she and volunteers made several attempts to capture the duck, all unsuccessful.
She explained the difficulty, saying, “We can’t walk on water or fly.”
Now, she said, the duck recognizes her crew.
City Animal Control Officer Lisa Hopper said she’s pitched in with Moore’s efforts. “We’re trying,” she said.
She added that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife “won’t come out.”
Moore also noted that when a similar event occurred a few years ago in Port Angeles, the perpetrator was caught “and nothing happened.”
That doesn’t help, she said.
John Nash, who is spearheading a group of people to save the duck, said the staff at Greywolf has said that no one should attempt to remove the dart. It is likely barbed, and removal could cause greater damage.
The only answer, said Nash, may be the use of a net gun, which ejects a net at a velocity sufficient to capture a fleeing bird.
Moore said she would purchase a net gun, but currently lacks the $500 or more the guns cost.
For more, call Nash at 477-7665.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.