The resident ducks and geese of the university lakes have become a fond and familiar part of UNMC ever since they were brought in a few years ago. Originally wanting to get swans to add on to the aesthetic element of the campus, the university settled on ducks instead. Now, the poultry family on campus have expanded to encompass 7 mallard ducks and 6 white ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), one muscovy duck (Cairina moschata), one Asian brown waterfowl and 3 geese (Anser cygnoides), these of which have recently bred and now have goslings. The flock of geese currently inhabit the main lake in front of the Trent building whereas the rest of the ducks live at the lake behind the F3 block.
As our ducks and geese are relatively tame, the university has not restricted us students from feeding them. If ever you feel like paying them a visit, bring along some grains (rice, oats, seeds) or vegetables to feed them with. However, they already have sufficient food from the lakes, feasting on the pond weeds and fish. This brings about their crucial role to maintain the ecosystem of both lakes, preventing the pond weeds from growing uncontrollably which will eventually cause a spike in the lakes’ biological oxygen demand (measure of dissolved oxygen in water used by aerobic organisms to break down organic matter), thus compromising the quality of the lake water.
Alas, when the ecosystem giveth, the ecosystem also taketh away. Our beloved fowl almost never reproduce as their eggs are usually consumed by monitor lizards on campus. That’s why the ducks you see around campus are just first generation. An upside to this is the population of these animals still remain manageable and our campus has yet to be overrun by our feathery friends.
These animals are also known to migrate to new habitats once their current ones become uninhabitable. So the next time you walk by either lake and hear the relentless quacking or honking from the ducks and geese, do keep in mind that it’s everyone’s responsibility in maintaining a clean environment for our favorite bird.
Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath
-Sir Michael Caine
By Abigail Lim