KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
The Duck Pond has been frozen over during White Pine County’s recent cold spell.

The Ely Times

A frozen dead goose was found recently at the Duck Ponden

Lynn Aime, a local who has been feeding the ducks and geese every day, for several years said, “I have concerns of them being frozen, and not provided with adequate shelter, and no one seems to want to take responsibility for these birds.

“This duck pond is such a vital part to our community, we need to take pride in it.” 

By Wednesday morning, the feeding area was enclosed with more shelter, and straw was placed in the shelter area.  The county is in charge of the Duck Pond? Bill Caldewood, director of the Road & Public Works Department, explained what the county does to take care of the duck pond and the habitat.  

The birds and ducks are fed daily, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and weekends. There is a rare occasion when the pond freezes over especially with the negative temperatures Ely has been experiencing this winter.  

Garbage is cleaned daily and the area around the pond is maintained as well.  Several local residents feed the animals as well.  

What is the best thing for the ducks and birds to eat? Calderwood provided u a few suggestions.   Grains are great in addition to duck pellets. that can be purchased as the local pet store.  

Grapes are a great source as well, cut in half, they are easier to digest for the animals. Veggies such as peas, and other green vegetables, are a great food source as well. 

Nevada Department of WIldlife was contacted and noted that while DOW does manage wildlife that includes waterfowl, they are managed as a whole, and not as individual animals.  

For private, municipal or county ponds, such as the local duck pond, it is up to those particular governmental entities to manage the area and it’s habitat.  

So how do ducks and geese stay warm and prevent themselves from freezing? 

Research shows that waterfowl and other birds don’t need any sort of straw for warmth.  Straw is typically used for nesting, to keep their eggs protected and from rolling away, while their feathers are protecting them from the weather.  

You can think of a goose down, which is in so many of our coats, and jackets as the best insulation available.  

 Birds fluff their feathers to trap heat and slow down their metabolism to conserve energy. A birds body heat warms the air between the feathers. The more trapped air, the warmer the bird.  They store fat during the short days of winter.  Sleeping on top of the water is safer for geese and ducks, because a coyote, or other predator is less likely to step out on to ice.  

Ducks as well as other like birds have a counter current heat exchange system between the arteries and veins in their legs. Warm arterial blood flowing to the feet passes close to cold venous blood returning from the feet. The arterial blood warms up the venous blood, dropping in temperature as it does so. 

The duck pond has been in White Pine County since the early 1900s. The conditions of the duck pond have always been on the radar for the County.  

So, much that the county applied for a Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA).  The grant was approved by the commission and forwarded on to the federal government  on May 15, 2017.  The county still waiting to hear back from the federal government.   

There have been various reports of vandalism to the ducks and birds at the pond.  This is where the community can help.  If you see an act of violence, or vandalism, contact the Sheriff’s office immediately at 775-289-8808.  

If you have any questions about the daily operations and maintenance of the duck pond you can contact the White Pine County Public Works department at 775-293-6552.