Beaufort News

Ducks injured by darts in Bluffton Park

Several ducks at a lake at Bluffton Park have been shot with what appear to be darts from a blowgun and concerned neighbors are stepping up to help save them.

At least two ducks, one of them a mallard with a dart still lodged in his head, have been seen in and around the lake since the incident was documented by the Bluffton Police Department on July 20.

Karen D'Alba, who lives on Whispering Pines, said she first noticed the ducks on Friday. Other neighbors had seen them a few days before, she said.

She has called veterinarians, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Bluffton Police in an effort to find out what to do.

Ducks are a familiar sight in Bluffton Park, walking the streets of the neighborhood at night, cooling off in sprinklers and sleeping in yards, D'Alba said.

Police officers filed an incident report July 20 and called the DNR, according to Bluffton Police Sgt. Joe Babkiewicz.

"DNR went out there but couldn't catch the ducks, so they're still flying around," Babkiewicz said. "There is no suspect at this time."

DNR Cpl. Michael Brock said local agents have driven through the neighborhood but haven't spotted the injured ducks. They will continue to search for the animals, he said. Residents should call DNR if they can report a precise location, Brock said.

"There's a large number of them (and) they just scatter around," Brock said. "We are continuing to go in and out and seeing if we can locate them."

Brock said if he caught one of the injured ducks, he would take them to a veterinarian to see if the dart could be removed without harming the animal.

D'Abla has rallied some of her neighbors to attempt to trap the ducks so the darts can be removed before they rust or infect the birds.

"If you take it out at least they have a fighting chance," D'Alba said. "If we have luck with the one with a dart in his head, it would make me feel better."

After an unsuccessful attempt at trapping the birds earlier Saturday - D'Alba said the nets scared them - she planned to gave it a second try late Saturday night. The results of that effort were not available by press time.

D'Alba believes whoever shot the ducks could have baited them with food and fired at close range because the darts are thin.