By Dan Corcoran
CORVALLIS, Ore. — What was thought to be a Civil War football game prank was much more serious to a little mallard duck spray painted bright orange and bound with duct tape. But things for this duck are finally looking up.
Bill is back to being an ordinary duck.
“They are excited to go where they want to go, eat what they want to eat and just be ducks,” said Chintimini Wildlife Center Volunteer Nicole Kryger.
The mallard was just released from the Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis where he’s been re-cooperating after what was believed to be a Duck/Beaver Civil War football game prank taken much too far.
“Spray painted orange pretty much from head to toe,” said Executive Director Jeff Picton.
Picton decided to take Bill under his wing. There was no way to clean the orange spray paint off of his wings, so the little guy was kept indoors, allowing time for new feathers to grow.
But Bill didn’t like being cooped up alone. He was losing weight and was lethargic. Neighbors of the wildlife center offered up a female duck to keep Bill company, and the two hit it off.
“He started perking right up, eating, and gaining weight. So they’ve been together this whole time,” said Picton.
“He would always go in and let her get the earthworms first and the mealworms. So yeah, he’s kind of a polite duck,” said Kryger.
Eight months have passed since Bill found himself coated in bright orange and his legs bound with duct-tape. Now he’s waddling through the grass at the farm next door with his girlfriend and some other new companions. He’s now healthy enough to take flight, but will he?
“He can either stay here and live the good life with his girlfriend and get fed and get taken care of or he could fly away at any time and go back to being a wild duck,” said Picton.
“He’s got it pretty good out here. What duck wouldn’t want to be here?” said Kryger.
Water foul do migrate, so Bill might decide to fly south come this fall. Until then, it’s safe to say this mallard will be sticking right by his girlfriend’s side. And as for who was responsible for targeting bill in the first place, that person has yet to come forward.