Catching ducks, even ones that don't fly, isn't easy, says veterinarian Dr. Diana Huang.

But in order to save three domestic waterfowl at the Schiller Park pond, Huang and her team had to bait and trap the ducks before transferring them to Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville.

"They're much faster than we are," Huang said of the one Peking and two Cayuga ducks, too big to fly, but swift on land and in water.

People leaving domestic ducks at the Schiller Park pond has been a problem as long as anyone could remember.

Observers said people purchase the ducks, either as a food source or a pet, grow tired of them and drop them off at a water source, not knowing they are at physical disadvantage because they can't fly.

Huang, a veterinarian said she received a call from Katharine Moore, chairwoman of Friends of Schiller Park, on the latest situation with domestic ducks at Schiller.

"I was trying to find a resolution to the feeding issue," Moore said.

"(Columbus) Recreation and Parks posted signs asking citizens not to feed the ducks and yet we still had people bringing buckets of feed every day.

"I learned that the reason they felt the policy had to be overlooked was that there were three ducks that had been abandoned and could not feed themselves," Moore said.

Friends of Schiller will pay Huang an undisclosed amount of money for her services, Moore said.

Huang said it took five attempts to catch the ducks, which involved luring them in with food and scooping them up -- once by hand and twice by net.

The Peking duck had a condition known as a feather cyst, a potentially fatal disease similar to an ingrown hair on a human, Huang said.

The feather cyst, which would have required major surgery to remove, was not excised because the affliction was not life-threatening, Huang said.

She said the condition is often the result of malnutrition. Too often, people feed bread to ducks and geese, which prefer vegetation, small fish, worms, insects and other things found in an aquatic environment.

Ducks and geese that consume too much bread also can develop angel wing, when feathers grow at different angles and wings are malformed, resulting in the inability to fly, she said.

Domestic ducks have it rougher than their feathered friends because they can't escape predators and aren't mobile enough to find additional food sources, Huang said.

If the pond freezes, they can't migrate, she said.

She said people should buy food that is appropriate for waterfowl, such as cracked corn, seeds, grapes, dried meal worms and pellets.

Moore urges people to honor the request to not feed the ducks.

"The wild ducks have made a mess of the pond area and often cross the street to make messes in neighbor's yards," she said.

"The Friends of Schiller Park were happy to be able to contribute to a solution.

"If we don't keep feeding them, they won't keep facetiming with their cousins, urging them to come to German Village."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary