For about 40 years, the ducks at College of the Mainland have been a fixture. The duck is the community college’s mascot for its intramural sport and debate teams, the waterfowl draw children to the pond in front of the student center to feed them, and the college bookstore sells T-shirts and other items featuring the COM ducks.
Now, the COM ducks have their own Facebook page.
Started by College of the Mainland Police Officer Sylvia Chapa, the social media page College Duck Whisperer is more than just a collection of nice photos of the ducks. It’s also an educational tool.
“My passion is to keep the ducks at Lake Eckert in Texas City safe from animal cruelty, predators and traffic through active patrol and education,” Chapa posted on the page.
Chapa launched the page Feb. 1 after The Daily News published a story about the efforts of a couple and an animal control officer to round up some ducklings that had found their way across the freeway from the college onto the newspaper’s property. It appeared some mother ducks decided to lay their eggs near the newspaper but were having a hard time getting their babies back to the college.
Albert and Lillian Pepin held up traffic and made sure some mother ducks and their 30 ducklings crossed the feeder road of the Emmett F. Lowry Expressway. With the help of Texas City Animal Control Officer Dana Bohn, they rounded up the ducklings and took them to the college. They were unable to herd the mothers but hoped they would fly back to the college to care for their young.
They didn’t. Separated, the ducklings didn’t have their mothers’ care and all died.
Chapa posted a photo of the dead ducklings with the warning, “These baby Muscovy ducks died by human ignorance. Never separate babies from their mothers.”
The Facebook page has a small flock of 82 followers, mostly students and staff at the college.
Chapa gives reports on other COM duck-related issues.
“Sometimes our COM ducks like to lay under cars in the parking lots to grab a little shade, so please check under your cars before backing out and driving off,” she posted Saturday. “They can move a little slow, so please be patient. They have a tendency to do this in parking lots A, E and F.”
She posted a photo and updated the health condition of a Muscovy drake that had a dart stuck in his neck.
“Thank God his body shed it away naturally,” she wrote Feb. 11. “Unfortunately he still has a pretty bad limp. He likes to cross the campus roadway near the pond and Amburn, so please watch out for him and help me keep him safe.”