Monday, 1 July 2013

Muscovy Duck

Ely in Cambridgeshire is one of only two places in the UK with a feral population of Muscovy Ducks. 


Originally from Central and South American, and with a name that suggests a Russian connection, these ducks are pretty alien to the UK. They're an odd looking bunch too, with black and white feathers, bright red faces and wattles, and enormous floppy flat feet. 

In Ely, they're a huge source of controversy. Quite apart from the fact that they're an invasive species, the ducks are smelly, noisy and they shit everywhere. Opinion is divided: some locals say that the Muscovy Ducks are an unhygienic eyesore, while others maintain that they're charming local characters. 

I'm broadly in favour of the Muscovy Ducks; they're like little local celebrities. Plus, they're good inspiration for sonnets: 

The Muscovy Duck
With Elvis-like quiff and a flat-footed gait,
He's victim to fashions ten years out of date.
Face red and embarrassed, he sits down to wait
For waterproof feathers to come back in style.
He sticks out a mile, just like a sore thumb.
An unwanted squatter, his parties are shunned.
To be a pariah is not that much fun;
The strangest of strangers on this marshland isle.
A born entertainer, he's messy and loud;
He'd be right at home on a festival stage.
His rock-star behaviour will draw in the crowds,
A waddling busker, with breadcrumbs his wage.
A local celeb, his neighbours are stuck
With this charming annoyance: the Muscovy Duck.

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