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'30-40 ducks in my yard at one time' | JP neighborhood crying 'fowl'

JP Councilmember Jennifer Van Vrancken has offered up $50,000 in parish funds to remove and possibly euthanize Muscovy ducks.

NEW ORLEANS — Neighbors in one Jefferson Parish community are crying “fowl” over a smelly problem now affecting their quality of life.

An invasive species of duck is roaming the streets, rummaging through their yards and making a mess of things.

“I’ve seen as many as 30-40 ducks in my yard at one time,” Felecia Gonzales said. “They produce a third of a pound of droppings a day, each adult duck.”

Gonzales’ home appears to be ground zero for the Muscovy invasion. That’s a species of duck native to South America.

“They get on your roof, Gonzales said. “Get on top of your vehicle. My vehicle is all scratched up because of the ducks.”

They roam the neighborhood, going house to house, looking for food.

Some homeowners have installed fences. Others have even put out plastic bottles in their gardens to keep the ducks from nesting in their yard.

“There are traffic issues,” Lake Pontchartrain Shores Neighborhood Association Warren Surcouf III said. “I'm scared for my children to get some sort of disease from ducks because of their duck poop that’s on all of our properties.”

Surcouf says the civic association is now discussing a proposed agreement with Jefferson Parish to hire a trapper.

JP Councilmember Jennifer Van Vrancken has offered up $50,000 in parish funds to remove and possibly euthanize Muscovy ducks.

“I love ducks, Van Vrancken said. “I actually, as a little child learned to walk by chasing the ducks at City Park. This is not intended to harm the ducks. It’s about a problem, a quality of life problem, a health, safety, and welfare issue that our residents are experiencing.”

Three years ago, the JP Council passed an ordinance making it illegal to feed the ducks. That did very little to reduce the population.

Neighbors say trapping them is a last resort to get a desperate situation under control. Federal law prohibits them from relocating an invasive species.

“People just don’t understand,” Gonzales said. “I know there are people who love the ducks, but we don’t love the ducks.

The Pontchartrain Shores Neighborhood Association is set to vote on whether to hire a trapper at a public meeting in June.

The trapper would only remove Muscovy Ducks, not local species such as Mallard and Whistler ducks.