Burton's Pond ducks starving, prof says

Ian Jones, a biology professor at Memorial University in St. John's, says the ducks that call Burton's Pond home are starving to death.
Memorial University biology professor Ian Jones says that ducks living in the Burton's Pond area are starving to death. (CBC)

A biology professor at Memorial University in St. John's says the ducks that call Burton's Pond home are starving to death.

At least three carcasses have been found around the campus pond this week.

Most of the ducks in the area have had their wings clipped so they are unable to fly anywhere else for food. And signs are posted around the pond asking people not to feed them.

A spokesperson for the university said MUN is asking people not to feed the ducks because of a serious rodent issue around Burton's Pond.

Professor Ian Jones says that's causing problems for the birds.

"It was not surprising to me to start seeing dead ducks, which we started to see earlier in the week, and I personally know of three," he said.

"I examined two of those and they'd clearly starved to death."

Jones says they'd actually been starving for some time.

"You've finished dinner and you've got the skeleton of the chicken sitting on a plate, with the breast bone exposed and prominent, and no sign of meat on it," he said.

"Well, that's pretty much the condition that these birds were in. I could feel this through their feathers."

Bourat Nozire found a dead duck on the ice last week. He said despite the no-feeding signs, he will continue to help keep the birds alive.

"I love them. They are my friends, too," Nozire said. "I came here three years ago, and I'm feeding them all the time."

Judy Anthony stopped by Burton's Pond on her lunch break to feed the ducks.

"I just think it's a hard winter and I'm an animal lover, so immediately when I heard that some were in crisis, I wanted to help the best that I could."

Jones said he's waiting for an explanation from the university about the do-not-feed signs.

"Why is there a sign saying don't feed the ducks in an area where ducks have been traditionally fed by the public for many, many years? What is going on here?"

The university says until the rodent issue is resolved, the signs will remain in place.