Hampton makes way for the ducks
Officials hope signs will protect feathered friends
By Nick B. Reid
Hampton Union, February 14, 2014
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Ducks head out on the unfrozen water in town, including
this patch near Eel Creek at the end of Winnacunnet Road in Hampton.
[Nick B. Reid photo]
HAMPTON — The town is making way for ducklings.
As Hampton's ducks are reportedly getting hit by cars on a regular basis, Town Manager Fred Welch has directed the Department of Public Works to place signs in two places to alert drivers.
"The poor little ducks are getting killed," Selectman Mary-Louise Woolsey said.
Woolsey was stopped in the supermarket by a Towle Farm Road woman who was concerned about the issue, and she asked Welch to do something about it.
"Almost every day she'll see one or two ducks wiped out because of the cars," Woolsey said.
So Welch asked Public Works to get four signs, two to be placed on Towle Farm Road where it goes into Hampton Falls near the Taylor River, and two to go near Coffin Pond on the same road, also known as Batchelder Pond.
"If the pond doesn't freeze on Towle Farm Road, ducks frequent there," he said.
Welch noted that the bridge at the end of Winnacunnet Road over Eel Creek is also a popular spot, where 100 or 150 ducks can easily be found. But because water, and ducks, are allowed to pass under that bridge, there hasn't been a problem with traffic.
The ducks choose these spots, Welch said, because the water doesn't freeze.
"They have to find spaces where it's open water," he said. "There's enough movement and splash of water that it doesn't freeze."
And in cases where they come into contact with cars, they don't know what to do, Welch said.
"For some strange reason, ducks, they're not privy to what we do with automobiles," he joked. "They're not afraid of them for some silly reason."
Woolsey said she hopes the signs will put people on the lookout.
"If people could just slow down a little bit and try not to kill the wildlife, that would be awfully nice," she said.
"The cars mean noting to ducks, but if a person gets out and goes, 'Shoo shoo,' then they get it," she said.
Welch said he thinks the signs should be a good investment.
"The caution signs, I think, are probably well worth it," Welch said, noting that they'll be installed as soon as they're received.