Hannah Weller, an avid bird-watcher, came across two mutilated ducks during her regular rounds at Herman Park last week. Their beaks looked as though they had been smashed and then torn apart. One of the bird’s eyes was damaged, and both were incapable of eating.
“Her beak was in sharp little pieces,” Weller said, “like she was missing chunks of her bill and parts still there were shattered-looking and disheveled, with little chunks hanging on. … She couldn’t eat. I watched her try and she couldn’t do it.”
Weller later delivered the ducks to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition, hoping the birds could be treated and later released.
The ducks already had extensive damage to their beaks and were beginning to suffer infections around the eyes, indicating the injuries were likely old. The severity of the bird’s injuries forced the TWRC to euthanize both animals.
TWRC Executive Director Mary Warwick theorizes park-goers may have abused the animals. Alternatively, the recent deadly avian flu outbreak could have infected the ducks.
However, the ducks showed no conclusive signs of disease.
“The ducks are out there for the pleasure of the Houston community,” Warwick said, “so Houston is responsible for taking care of them.
Weller has since found no other injured ducks.
“I hope it stays that way,” she said.