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Two ducks found dead at City Park

April 14, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - Competition for mates might have led to the deaths of at least two ducks recently at City Park, a parks supervisor said Thursday.

According to Junior Mason, park superintendent for the City of Hagerstown, ducks occasionally die during mating season.

"This time of year, they mate, and they're very violent with each other," Mason said. "It's because the males outnumber the females."

Most often, it is the females that die during mating, but sometimes males kill one another, Mason said. He said he did not know the sex of a duck spotted Thursday, but he said a two-man crew routinely checks the lake and removes dead animals.

According to Larry Hindman, waterfowl project manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, female ducks often are picked off by predators during nesting season. Because adult males outnumber the females, females can die from overexertion during mating season.

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"That's common ... sounds pretty brutal, but it is common," Hindman said.

On Thursday, about half a dozen dead fish floated around the lake's perimeter - including three near a drain - but Mason said workers have not reported an unusual number of fish deaths.

"Actually, the water quality, it looks clear, it looks good," Mason said.

The park has experienced the deaths of many fish at once in the past, but Mason said he believes both the fish and duck populations are healthy. Last year, the lake's carp contracted a gill disease because of overpopulation and competition for oxygen, he said.

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