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)

Saanich neighbours call for change after duck found with plastic ring on beak

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

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

Mack Kurtz was walking his dog near the creek 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

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

A pedestrian pushing two children in a stroller was struck by a driver while crossing a Highway 1 off-ramp at Burnside Road West on Feb. 24. (Google Streetview)
UPDATED: Pedestrian with two children in stroller struck in Saanich crosswalk after driver failed to yield

No serious injuries reported, driver issued $167 ticket under Motor Vehicle Act, police say

West Shore RCMP headquarters in Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP arrests two suspects in connection to View Royal arson

Investigators determined the fire was deliberately set, targeted

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

Most Read