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Ennis Daily News

A good place to migrate

Bill Greenlee, a local bed and breakfast owner, has enjoyed the company of many guests. Perhaps the most notable are the roughly 2,000 black-bellied whistling ducks that use the lake on his property as a winter haven.
The ducks started coming about six years ago, Greenlee said. He has owned his property since 1968, which includes a swimming pool, several ponds, a lake, a cabin that serves as the bed and breakfast, a greenhouse, his residence and pastures for livestock.
The number of ducks that have migrated to Greenlee’s land has increased every year, he said. In addition to the wild ducks, Greenlee said he has about 10 domesticated ducks living on the property. Greenlee feeds the ducks 15 sacks of hen scratch every five days. The sacks weigh 50 pounds each, which means the ducks eat close to two tons of hen scratch a month.
Greenlee said he doesn’t want anyone to harm the ducks.
“I don’t allow any hunting,” Greenlee said. “No shooting. My grandson likes to hunt ducks, but I won’t let him shoot them.”
According to a guide Greenlee has about birds, the farthest north the black-bellied whistling ducks are supposed to go is Corpus Christi. He said he thinks they have started coming this far north because hurricane courses altered their migratory paths.
“The ducks migrate from Mexico,” Greenlee said. “They normally stay in that area, but I think the hurricane blew them in.”
Hurricane winds were also responsible for bringing two juvenile bald eagles to Greenlee’s property in October. Greenlee has quite a menagerie of animals on his property in addition to the ducks and eagles. He has banty roosters, dogs, a swan, horses, cows and Canadian geese.
He said guests who stay at the bed and breakfast like to see the animals that live on Greenlee’s property.
“A lot of people that come stay with us are from the city, and they don’t have much opportunity to see wildlife,” Greenlee said.
Greenlee, too, enjoys having the ducks visit his property each year.
“We’re blessed with all these wild ducks,” he said. “You normally don’t get to see them because they fly off when you get too close.”
Greenlee thinks the reason more ducks come every year is because they let other ducks know about safe places to settle.
“The ducks find a safe place to roost and let their friends know about it,” he said. “They let them know it’s a place where they’ll get fed and nobody will shoot them.”

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Posted by on Jan 2 2009. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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