>What the Duck?!


For years downtown Fort Lauderdale has looked to mitigate the homeless population wandering the streets and our city parks. Me, well, my concern isn’t at all about the homeless people. Instead, I’m more weary of the homeless ducks.

As a downtown commuter every work day for the past four years and a frequenter of Las Olas Boulevard, I’m freaked out by the quantity of Moscovy ducks mulling our streets and alleyways. I work more toward the eastside of downtown, just off Eighth Avenue, and to get to Las Olas’ busy sections by foot, I cut through the alleyway between Blue and Casa Cameleon and Johnny V. Or, I used to cut that way. Right at the loading dock behind the boutiques, a gang of ducks routinely waddles out of nowhere, causing me to detour around that passage.

Even worse, as my co-workers and I walk over to get our 4 o’clock coffee fix at the Starbucks on Broward Boulevard and U.S. 1, a separate band of Moscovies hanging out at the neighboring Chase Bank seem to intercept my route. 

“Why are you hiding behind us, Nila?” co-workers tend to ask. Every time.

“You know why,” I seem to mutter. Every time.

Somehow the java urge supersedes my fear.

You know how some people hold their breath as they drive over a bridge? Well, that’s exactly what I do as I walk past those ducks. Call it my fear of ducks (or birds, to be more general), but there’s just something about their red blotchy faces that incites a rude outburst out of me. I’m not sure why I have that fear — I’ve never had a “The Birds” moment or Hitchcock-like scenario in which I was attacked and pecked. Regardless the fear exists.

Now, I’m not at all inciting we elicit any type of harm toward these creatures. After all, they seem to just be minding their own business. I’ve even been told that they are probably more afraid of me than I am of them. Somehow I can’t seem to accept that notion, though. 

Truth be told, it’s probably us who are the offenders, and I should probably get off my high duck, er, horse. We are probably invading their home turf with our concrete buildings and high rises. Seemingly, in this case what came first was the duck, not the human. Oh well, I can still hate them, can’t I?

9 responses to “>What the Duck?!

  1. >There's really only one solution: total duck immersion. A few days spent wading in the Colee Hammock canal and you'll be best friends.

  2. >Keri, the baby ducks are adorable! Someone even put up a sign in our parking lot to "Drive Carefully to Avoid Hitting the Baby Ducks." But alas, my beef is not with the babies, but with their adult counterparts. Sigh.

  3. >These guys deserve a break. Your photograph is a great example of their poise. They're not camera shy. They're also great for family portraits. Stop looking at their waddling tails, their clumsy birdie feet, and watch them spread their wings and soar in the air. Then duck.

  4. >Nila, I share your Moscovy phobia, which I trace back to the time I was walking in Easterlin Park and one flew straight at my head before veering off. I had never seen a Moscovy get up more than a foot off the ground before so that instantly put the incident in the realm of the paranormal. It was about the same level of weirdness as hearing a dog talk, which, by the way, I have never personally experienced, except for the time I was left alone in a room with an albino Doberman.

  5. >If I ever had a duck flying straight at my head, I think I would die of sheer terror. But if a talking albino Doberman came to me, I just might strike up a conversation.

  6. >I remember Mr. Spence…I was kind of hoping you were going to mention the song that goes "Scraping up sand from the bottom of the seaaaa. Shilohhh, Shilohhh"

  7. >"Shiloh, Liza Jane"!!!! I still remember that song and how we use to laugh after singing "Shiloh, Shiloh." Awwww… what great memories.

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