Head 'em up and move 'em out.
Like 19th-century wranglers on the Chisholm Trail, city workers Monday will begin a roundup of every duck at Waverly Park so the city can proceed with landscaping work.
City plans call for gathering the 300 waterfowl from Waverly Lake by enticing them with food into a corral or truck and transporting them to Timber Linn Memorial Park a short distance to the east.
When landscaping work is completed, only about 60 ducks will be returned to their original park home, said Dave Clark, parks and recreation director.
The city plans to landscape the area by dumping sandy loam soil and planting trees and grass.
"Because of the large number of ducks at Waverly Park, it would be difficult to grow any grass there," Clark said. "We're just afraid they will eat all the grass seed we plan to plant at the park."
Clark also fears the ducks would trample the new-born grass.
One "roundup" plan calls for backing flatbed trucks close to the water and extending a ramp from the bed to the ground. Food then will be sprinkled Pied Piper-like in a trail from the water, up the ramp and onto the truck to attract the ducks. When the ducks are on the truck, they will be netted and transported to Timber Linn Park.
If that doesn't work, the city plans to build a corral, put food in it and throw nets over the fowl to capture them, Clark said.
Still, city officials aren't really sure whether either plan will work, or whether the ducks will fly back to more familiar waters once relocated.
The forced migration also is being made because of growing complaints that there are too many ducks at Waverly Lake, Clark added.
"Parents will let their kids out of the car and they practically jump back in because of the large number of ducks that rush at them," he said. Strong odors from droppings also bring complaints from area residents.
The ducks are nearing nesting season and the move must be made before mating takes place. "If we don't do it now, we're going to be in trouble," Clark said.
The roundup will begin at about 8 a.m. Monday, Clark said.
DID IT WORK?
The original plan — to lure quackers up a ramp into a waiting truck — failed miserably (see photo). Not even the promise of a free meal moved the crafty fowl, whether as crumbs or as popcorn fastened to a fishing hook. In desperation, workers constructed a small, crude corral, flung bread into the middle and watched helplessly as their quarry nibbled then escaped. Only one duck was captured before mating season began, forcing the city to postpone its project.