A sordid saga out of deepest, darkest Wandsworth: the recent decline in the area's duck population is being blamed on local people, perhaps driven feral from the economic crisis, pinching the birds in the dead of night and whisking them straight to the broiler in kitchen. One eyewitness, in a story that reads like the opening scene of a Disney film, saw a man stuffing a duck into a bag and yelling, "it's free!". That's right — while in some corners of London firefighters are rescuing stricken ducks, in another they're being flambeed and introduced to the joys of plum sauce. Yet a bird recorder for Tooting Bec Common sees no fowl play and lays the blame at the hooved feet and clammy gills of natural predators like foxes and large carp. And one local councillor disputes that duck numbers have gone down. It's not easy out there for a duck, though, and you wouldn't reproach them for wishing they'd lucked out a little more in the DNA lottery and been born a swan — they can break a man's arm at ten paces, you know.
Last Updated 14 July 2009