April showers bring May flowers and ducks


Ducklings waddle around in the grass. Photo Credit: Amanda Jones

Milena Brown

As many students know, the courtyard was locked down again, but this time it was not because of students not cleaning up after lunch, it was newly hatched ducklings.

On Tuesday May 9 baby ducks were spotted in the courtyard by Amanda Jones, dean of students at Fossil Ridge High School and Kylie Jones, a teacher at Fossil. Later that day the ducks were relocated by Mark Barry and his father-in-law Roland Wolff who is an Ornithologist, along with some help from Nick Peterson, a counselor at Fossil. There were fourteen ducklings and one mother duck,though the father was nowhere to be seen.

Ducklings waddle in the sun. Photo Credit: Amanda Jones

The courtyard was immediately locked after the ducklings had been brought to the administration’s attention.  Mark Barry said that they “decided to wait until dusk to relocate the brood because that was when they would be settled down and all together.” However, it was learned later that not all the ducklings were together – one of them had gone missing. It wasn’t until late last night that Barry received a call from a night custodian that had the missing duckling. He and Wolff then built an aviary for the duckling, who they decided to name “Donald”,  to spend the night in because the rest of the brood had already been relocated to a nearby pond, with permission from the Larimer Humane Society.

Peterson said that he was concerned at some of the reactions that students and staff had to the ducks, “treating it more like a zoo spectacle than a potential animal welfare issue.” He made the call to Larimer Humane Society to see if they could relocate the ducks, but they were unable to do so due to them not being a domestic animal. Peterson said that the habitat they were released into was suitable and “certainly much more suitable than the deathtrap that was the courtyard.”

Apparently this is not the first time that the courtyard has been locked due to wild animals. Kim Salz, a teacher at Fossil, recalls how in 2015 the courtyard was locked for the duration of winter due to there being owls nesting in a tree in the courtyard. Salz commented that “They locked down the courtyard because once the owls have nested there they can’t move them.”  

As much as the ducklings were cute and wonderful to watch, there were concerns that the ducklings would not survive because in the courtyard there is no water and they could easily be picked off by larger birds of prey. Barry claimed that the reasoning for moving the ducks was also based off a previous similar experience that happened at Fossil.

If you do happen to come across wildlife at the school or outside that appears to be in distress, or is in a place that it can’t escape, the best thing to do alert a staff member or the administration. Some things you should not do when encountering wildlife are: to take selfies with it, play with it, take it home as a pet, or feed it. While you may find the animal adorable to look at, they are absolutely terrified of humans because they appear as a threat. For additional information on how to interact with wildlife and when to interfere go to the Larimer Humane Society website.