GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Park & Recreation staff rounded up the waterfowl in Gibson Park on Friday, October 20. Every year, staff members put on their waders and pick up rakes to walk around in the pond, nudging the flightless birds toward a pen.
The park workers then load the ducks and geese into a trailer and drive them a few hundred yards north to their winter quarters - the "Honker Hilton."
Kevin Vining explained, "What we do is we take care of all the domestic geese for the winter. And so the Park and Rec staff gets in the Gibson Park pond and we round up those ducks, push them down to the north end, and we're able to get them in our transport trailer. And then we bring them down to the north end here to the Honker Hilton, and then we can take care of them through the wintertime and get ready for next spring."
He added, "We'll bring in fresh water for Gibson Pond. We lower the levels for the roundup, so it allows us to bring in fresh water. And so that keeps it's recirculating new fresh water in there, so we can keep that water healthy."
During the cold months, the birds are kept inside for their own safety as many have clipped wings. Park & Recreation staff care for the birds throughout the winter.
The birds also have an indoor pond inside their winter residence. The birds are released back into Gibson Pond in April.
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