Photo of a Muscovy duck at Castle Lake, Bailieborough taken by Kevin Gorman

Mystery of the exotic ducks

Three Muscovy ducks were spotted at Bailieborough Town Lake last weekend.

The appearance of the fabulous ducks, with beautiful plumage was brought to the Celt's attention separately by Kevin Gorman and James Togher. The latter took a photo of both a male and female at the lake, and quipped the rare sightings is "quackers"

Did they arrive in County Cavan while migrating and perhaps got knocked off course or were they captive birds that were released into the wild?

Male and female Muscovy ducks. Photo taken by James Togher.

Well, Liz McKenna from Birdwatch Ireland who resides in Bailieborough told The Anglo-Celt this week that her “hunch” is that they were captive birds released into the wild.

While she admitted that she has yet to see the beautiful birds, she also advised how unfair it is to release ducks from captivity because their fate is most likely going to be determined by shooting season.

“From time to time, you do get rare birds here who are migrating but they tend to not stay around for very long so it is more likely that the ducks in Bailieborough were in captivity,” she said. “Of course, you can never rule anything out but my hunch is that they were released into the wild after being held captive.”

The Muscovy Duck is native to the Americas, from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Mexico south to Argentina and Uruguay. Feral Muscovy ducks are found in New Zealand, Australia, and in Central and Eastern Europe. Liz says that releasing captive birds into the wild “is not the right thing to do”.

“It very often results in mixed breeding which is not a positive development and when it comes to ducks - well, they end up at the mercy of shooting season.”