Hastings woman suspects teens of killing ducks in Cornwall Park

By Doug Laing

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Ducks have been killed at Cornwall Park pond upsetting walker Marina Dinsdale. Photo Doug Laing
Ducks have been killed at Cornwall Park pond upsetting walker Marina Dinsdale. Photo Doug Laing

Hastings woman Marina Dinsdale enjoys her morning walks through Cornwall Park and feeding the ducks at the pond.

But it changed when she came across two dead ducks and a beheaded chick recently which she believes are the consequences of a thoughtless rampage by teenagers.

It prompted her to set up a Friends of the Park group to help protect the variety of birdlife in the area.

"It's not normal - What were they thinking?" She said, as she gathered the birds, noted the other signs such as smashed eggs on the nearby trees, and headed off to the police station to report what had happened.

At the same time, a mother duck waddled towards the pond, followed by seven of its young at the start of their daily adventure, even if already minus some of the fold.

There had been 14, Mrs Dinsdale said.

They file into the water and paddle across the waters with other ducks, as a young mum arrives with two beaming preschoolers and opens a bag with breadcrumbs to feed the avian flotilla.

Mrs Dinsdale said she's walked through the park many times over the last 24 years, and while she had seen smashed eggs and injured ducks before, this was the first time she'd seen ducks in such a state, necks having apparently been wrung and the birds left to die in the cold.

"It is very sad that it has come to this," she said.

"Hopefully they will catch whoever has done this."

There are significant penalties, across the range of offences from taking game birds to cruelty to animals. She says the culprits need to know the consequences of what they have done.

Fish and Game senior officer Nathan Burkepile said as some habitats "disappear" more and more birds such as ducks head to ponds in urban parks, with a seasonal crossing of roads and avoiding other hazards crossing busy roads, knowing that is where they're likely to be fed.

Mrs Dinsdale said that raised other issues, with council staff this week busy clearing waterways and foliage in the park, which she says is at the same time removing some of the natural nesting places and cover for the birdlife in the park.

"I think they should just hold off for a few weeks," she said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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