Huge duck flock makes Centreville driveway home
Joyce and Joe Prosser fed two starving ducks to start, now they're hosting about 150
More than 100 mallard ducks are now congregating outside a small home just outside of Centreville, New Brunswick.
It all started when two birds in distress fluttered into Joyce and Joe Prosser's driveway in the small town located northwest of Fredericton.
Joyce Prosser says they have never seen so many ducks come this early in the season.
"When those first two arrived it was so heartbreaking," she said.
When Prosser saw the first couple of ducks land at the end of January, she knew something was wrong.
"They would take one, two, maybe three steps depending, and down their legs would fold again and down they would go. And they had to do this all the way repeatedly, clear up to the feeder. And they finally got there, and dove in, clear to their shoulders. They were just ravenous," she said.
But there were only sunflower shells left by the local squirrel family.
The birds were still alive the next morning, so the Prossers went into town to buy a couple of bags of grain.
"But then the others arrived," said Prosser.
They came in smaller numbers to start, but eventually around 150 would crowd the yard.
The community also pitched in to help feed the birds.
"We're just the car. Those people are the gas," says Prosser.
Birder and naturalist Jim Wilson says it is rare to hear of so many ducks inland in the winter.
But he says they are very adaptable and the Prossers are probably helping them out until the spring. But if they weren't, the birds would just pack up and head to the coast.
A natural resources official telephoned Prosser, discouraging her from feeding them. Ducks Unlimited also says it reduces the ducks' foraging instincts, and can make them dependent on people for food.
Prosser says she and her husband want the ducks to remain wild, they just want to give them a hand until the warmer weather.