To the displeasure of the prime residents of Millersville University, the swans Miller and S’Ville, but to the delight of the surrounding human community, many mallard ducklings were born last spring. Unfortunately, many students may end up disapproving of these new ducklings also, as they have grown into more assertive and demanding wildlife than the rest of the residents that bobble around the university pond. The new adult mallards have become peckish in every dictionary definition of the word.
The mallards are long-standing locals of the campus, nesting on the natural grasses alongside the pond. As with all local wildlife, whether it be squirrels in the garbage cans or ants on the sidewalk, the main reason they stay around is the abundance of unwanted food many people bring to the area.
Instead of scavenging, however, this next generation of adolescent ducks has a more eye-catching and assertive method: nip and bother anyone studying on the benches surrounding the pond. It doesn’t matter whether it’s food in the palm of their hand; as long as they are holding something, the ducks will waddle towards them and attempt to persuade that person to give up whatever they have.
Although older generations of mallards have been known to wobble over to students or teeter towards a passerby, they have never decided to nip at someone’s leg to indicate what they desire: food. Whether their descendants will keep to that as their mainstay of food gathering is yet to be seen. In the meantime, students will have to balance the tranquility of the campus pond with the desire to tranquilize its newest residents.