Miami Springs residents have a love/hate relationship with the city’s countless Muscovy ducks. Where there’s water, there’s ducks and where there are Muscovy ducks, often there are mallards, pigeons, ibis and sometimes swans, among other birds. A few people feed the feathered fowl along canal banks, not that everyone appreciates the benevolent gesture in the bird sanctuary city.
The Springs is a city where drivers don’t always stop for pedestrians, but they do screech to a halt whenever a mommy duck leads her brood of babies across the street just to get to the other side. No matter how cute the ducklings, not everyone appreciates the big ducks because they tend to poop anywhere and everywhere. When you gotta go …
Some business owners and residents have expressed their displeasure of duck poop to city leaders but, to most locals, Muscovy ducks are part of life in Beautiful Miami Springs. And poop is a natural part of having ducks.
However, a few weeks ago the Health Department demanded that Miami Springs Elementary whittle down its duck population because of a complaint from a parent in regards to duck poop on the paved phys-ed court.
“We were aware of the situation and we often clean the area,” said Principal Sally Hutchings. “During the summer it’s breeding season for the ducks and there was a lot of poop on the courts and outside hallways. A parent also said a duck pooped on his car.”
The next day Hutchings was visited by a member of the Health Department, although the school had recently been inspected and approved. He said an anonymous complaint had been filed about duck poop and the school was cited.
Hutching reported the situation to the School Board and a company named Bug Busters Inc. of Miami was sent to the school to remove ducks. The company told Hutchings the ducks are transported to Tampa and released on a farm.
In her sixth year as principal of Miami Springs Elementary, lifelong resident Hutchings said, “I love the ducks and I thought it was cruel to remove the baby ducks. Two mother ducks were removed from their nest and the eggs were left behind. When the inspector came back a week later, there were no ducks on campus.”
Although the ducks are not the official mascots of the school, they hang out there a lot and no one complains. Teachers shoo them away but the ducks aren’t harmed. Hutchings made an announcement about the duck removal and said it was not her doing and she didn’t approve of the action.
Hutchings added, “They took nine adult ducks and 11 babies from the campus. They’re not allowed to take ducks from the canal bank across the street, although the trappers tried to lure them over with bread. The ducks were too smart for that. The day after the ducks were removed, there were two large ducks sitting on the railing outside of the office and they appeared to be asking, ‘Where are my friends?’ ”