This past Mother’s Day, I saw what looked like a female Mallard duck with some feathers missing sleeping inside the back fence of Mount Olivet Cemetery at Eliot Avenue and Mount Olivet Crescent.

The duck had a bowl of water next to it, indicating that someone was concerned about its well-being. I contacted a local animal rescue, but as it was a family holiday, no one was available to help trap the duck and get it looked at.

I walked over to the cemetery the next day and did not find the duck. I figured she had taken off and quickly forgot about it.

The following Sunday morning, Tony Nunziato called me and said he had been approached by a local woman who was concerned about the duck as she had recently been observed hanging around the main Grand Avenue entrance. She said the duck’s wings had been clipped and she was being harassed by crows. It was then that my husband, Steve, and I, having never done this before, decided we would attempt a duck rescue.

We arrived at the cemetery that afternoon with a cat carrier and a bunch of blankets. The duck was right near the fence along Grand Avenue. A passerby who became interested in what we were doing, but did not give his name, decided to become our third team member. We surrounded the duck holding the blankets in front of us. After several failed attempts where the duck either ran past us or flew a few feet past our reach, we managed to corner her. Steve threw his blanket over her and then gently grabbed her. We backed her into a carrier then carefully removed the cloth and closed the door. We secured the carrier in the back of our car and then Steve got a dish of water for her from Tony.

As we were packing up, two women who live across the street and witnessed our wild duck chase approached and asked where we were taking the duck. We had been advised by a rescue organization to bring her to the Wild Bird Fund in Manhattan and explained the plan. They told us the duck had been dumped there about 2 weeks prior and that she was heard loudly quacking at night, either out of loneliness or despair.

I did not accompany Steve on the drive, but he got to WBF after sitting in some bad traffic. Surprisingly, they rejected the intake, claiming that the duck was domestic, as they only treat wild animals. They advised him to instead bring the duck to Animal Care and Control on East 110th Street. As he was waiting at ACC, he was calling his rescue contacts. It was determined that after the ACC gave the duck a clean bill of health, a rescue named Humane Long Island would pull her from the shelter and place her with an adoptive family. It turns out she is a Rouen duck, which is a domestic duck variety derived from Mallards. She has similar coloring but is larger and cannot survive in the wild.

John Di Leonardo of Humane Long Island confirmed that the duck was removed from ACC by his group and on May 23rd she was placed with an adopter. I suggested the name “Olivette.” We don’t know her back story, but ducks are popular Easter gifts, then the novelty wears off and the reality of caring for them sets in, so owners dump them. The females also will lay 100-150 eggs per year, and when they age and stop doing so, they sometimes are discarded.

The purpose of highlighting this story is to explain that animals should never be impulse buys or obtained with the plan B being that they are dumped in a park or cemetery. They cannot fend for themselves and it’s cruel to treat them this way. And if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to surrender an animal, there are groups out there willing to help.