A Bowker Creek duck was in good hands this weekend when several neighbours came together to remove a plastic lid from her beak. (Courtesy of Mack Kurtz)

A Bowker Creek duck was in good hands this weekend when several neighbours came together to remove a plastic lid from her beak. (Courtesy of Mack Kurtz)

Greater Victoria neighbours call for change after rescuing duck with plastic ring on beak

Loose recycling, garbage could be contributing to Bowker Creek pollution, neighbours say

Nature-lovers came together over the weekend in an effort to rescue a Greater Victoria-area duck found with a plastic lid wedged around its beak.

Mack Kurtz was walking his dog near Bowker Creek in Oak Bay when he saw a female mallard with plastic holding her beak open and immobile. Kurtz went home, dropped of his dog and grabbed gum boots. When he returned to the creek, he called several neighbours to join him in trying to corral the bird and cut off the plastic.

READ ALSO: Testing underway for Bowker Creek as a salmon habitat

But the duck flew out of reach, and staff at B.C. SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) recommended waiting until she tired. At one point, a dozen people were working to get a handle on the duck.

“It was struggling to get the plastic off its head,” Kurtz said. “It was putting its head underwater and kicking at this plastic with its feet and then going up onto the shore and dragging its head around through the dirt to try to get it off.”

Finally, Saanich woman Deanne Sharp was able to grasp the duck, thanks to some waterfowl expertise.

Sharp and her daughter, who raise backyard ducks, heard about the trapped bird from Facebook. They went out to see if they could help, and after several failed attempts Sharp picked her up in the darkness of a creek tunnel near Kings Road.

“Once you get (ducks) in the dark, they calm down immediately and stop moving,” she said. “So I walked slowly, I had a towel and I coaxed her into the tunnel … I was able to get her up against the wall and snag her.”

Outside, Kurtz was waiting with scissors to cut off the plastic. Afterwards they checked the duck’s mouth and neck for injuries before releasing her back into the creek.

READ ALSO: Bobcat frozen to train track near Trail rescued by a train conductor

“When I let her go she immediately swam over to the male (ducks) and had a big drink,” Sharp recalled. Sharp’s daughter went back to the creek Sunday and found the duck was doing well.

The duck’s story may have had a happy ending, but the plastic lid removed from her mouth was one of many pieces of garbage removed from the creek that day. In the water and on shore neighbours found bottles, coffee cups, plastic bags, wrappers, metal chains and more.

Kurtz speculates that nearby residents’ recycling – which is often put outside the night before pick up – is blowing into the creek, along with overflow from park trash bins.

“It’s pretty disheartening, there’s so much garbage in the creek,” he said. “I’m hoping we can just shine a light on this and either get some of those containers with lids on them or just try to educate people to get up and put (their recycling) out first thing in the morning instead of doing it the night before.

Sharp said, “It’s the same message we’ve been hearing for so long. You must not litter. Everything goes to our rivers and if that lid hadn’t ended up in Bowker Creek, it could have ended up in the ocean … we need to do better.”

Trash pulled from Bowker Creek over the weekend is just the tip of the iceberg, says neighbour Mack Kurtz. He wants to see changes made to help protect the creek from garbage and pollutants. (Courtesy of Mack Kurtz)

READ ALSO: Clean-up crew tackles Saanich’s Bowker Creek


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

EnvironmentGreater VictoriaWildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erin Haluschak visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Erin Haluschak talks missing persons on Vancouver Island, women in media

Podcast: Black Press reporter also talks about importance of women in the media

(File photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo to increase fees for disposal of mattresses

Current rate of $15 per unit not enough to cover recycling

A screenshot depicting the Shelly Creek watershed. The watershed itself is outlined in white and blue line in the middle signifies the creek. (Submitted photo)
Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society to conduct two projects and mail out surverys in Parksville

Vice-president: ‘I have some good news, some bad news, and some really ugly news about Shelly Creek’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read