As the weather warms up, life returns to the University of New Mexico Duck Pond. This year, however, the Duck Pond faces new and unwelcome guests: swans, moving in, increasing the property value and forcing the ducks to find new homes.
Since the beginning of spring, swans slowly have been taking over the Duck Pond, according to Jeremiah Clack, the old man who walks around the Pond on Tuesday evenings. It started slow — an artisanal pea bistro opened by the waterfall — but it has sped up in recent months. This unfortunate situation hurts the ducks and the surrounding ecosystem.
“Those swans are mean and bitey,” Clack said. “They don’t know how to share. I feel bad for the ducks just trying to get by.”
The swans are likely here to stay, according to fourth year zoology major Dona Tello. She said this is a common occurrence for animals, no matter the species.
“Honestly they’re probably taking notes from what’s going on in the South Valley right now,” Tello said. “They’re always watching.”
The ducks are having to get more competitive in order to get their bread. Janice Rice, an elderly lady who feeds the ducks bread slices despite being told not to, said that she cannot keep up with demand and will have to start charging the birds taxes on her crumbs.
“I swear that those swans are just doing it to piss off the ducks. The bread isn’t good for either of them in the first place,” Rice said.
Rice explained that she tries to support the ducks, but admits she has started to like the growing population of swans.
“They make me feel safe,” Rice said. “The Duck Pond used to be a little scary, and the ducks don’t do themselves any favors.”
The swans have also begun to encroach on the turtle rock, causing economic hardship for its residents. The turtles are expecting to lose hundreds of dollars in revenue from the gentrification.
“The turtles are pretty good at economics but even they couldn’t have expected how this would affect them,” Tello said. “No way their shell taxes don’t go up.”
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Tello explained that the turtles had previously held well-established relationships with the ducks to live peacefully and respect each other's businesses. However, the swans do not respect tradition and fear no man.
The best thing the community could do would be to ignore the swans and focus on supporting the ducks, Clack said.
“They’re real attention seekers. They’ll try to hassle you about their yoga-loving lifestyles. Don’t let it get to you, don’t accept their invitations to board game nights or Bible studies, just go on and move about your day,” Clack said.
Clack and Tello have teamed up to create an event called “Save The Duck Pond.” The event aims to hunt the swans out of the Duck Pond and will occur on April 13, 2022 from 5 to 9 p.m. The organizers encourage guests to bring their own weapons.
Marcela Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo