Wandering duck finds a friendly following in town



Almost one week ago, residents in central Hillsboro were greeted by a Muscovy duck that stirred up excitement and a lot of good feelings among community people.

Somewhat of a celebrity, the duck became a regular on some Facebook pages and sparked conversations around town.

Sue Wadkins said she first saw the bird near the city building on Grand early in the morning Dec. 7.

Not knowing why the duck appeared grounded in Hills?boro, Wadkins said that some city employees tried catching it unsuccessfully.

This little conversation piece became a shared activity among several small groups of people in town. Wadkins said some people speculated if their new feathered friend may have lost its way after breaking formation with fellow travelers heading south.

Another group thought the duck might have broken its wing, but whenever someone tried to catch him, it seemed to fly just fine.

One resident suggested bagging the duck using a pillowcase and then taking it to the pond. Another person said he didn?t think that was a good idea in case the bird was sick.

By late Wednesday afternoon, though, the duck was waddling in the alley between Grand and A streets.

Even the Hillsboro Police Chief couldn?t escape the duck chatter.

?I had several calls about the duck,? said Dan Kinning, police chief, adding that he called Kansas Wildlife and Parks to see if it would assist in catching the bird.

?I was told, though, to leave it alone and the duck would find its own way,? he said.

But by the following day, the duck was still in Hillsboro, not far from where it started Wednesday and didn?t appear to be going anywhere soon.

In fact, a family of Good Samaritans on Grand would soon be feeding the duck until someone came along to claim the bird as their own.

Dana Maxfield and her two daughters, Allison, 13, and Kate, 7, first saw the bird before school last Thursday.

?What we noticed was that he was so tame and he would let us get close to him,? Dana said.

The Maxfields also didn?t want to see the duck get hurt so they fed him bread and watched as he drank water from the puddle at the end of their driveway.

?At some point on Thurs?day,? she said, ?someone told us it flew off closer to downtown and was scene at (Tabor College).?

Even so, by early afternoon the duck was back for more food and water.

Dana said the puddle had dried up by their home so her husband, Jonathan, filled it with water.

The duck was back at its old stomping grounds Friday on Grand and the Maxfields were enjoying the added excitement.

Dana said she believed the duck was either someone?s pet or was raised on a farm.

?It is used to people,? she said.

Yet almost as quickly as this duck arrived in town, it was gone Saturday morning.

Dana said her mother came into town Saturday bringing ground corn and milo for the duck, but they couldn?t find it anywhere.

A lot of neighbors are hoping the owner discovered his pet was missing and took it home, while others are wouldn?t want to see harm or foul play came to the duck.

?We just hope the little fellow is OK,? one woman said Monday.

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