George, a Muscovy duck, hangs out at the Northeast Library at 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington [Map this]. Paige Owens, the assistant director of the New Hanover County Public Library, answered this question in an email:
“George has been at the library for about two years now. Staff and the community were concerned at first because George spent so much time at the library door that it was difficult to keep the area clean. The library’s daily maintenance staff (one wonderful hard-working person, Preston Waddell) did what he could to remove solid material, but the pavement remained stained and George returned so frequently that cleaning was a losing battle.
“Fortunately, as chronicled in George’s book coming out in November (2011), George made friends with another duck, Mabel about a year ago. Mabel prefers to spend her time in the pond by the library. Since bonding with Mabel, George spends much less time in the library’s high-traffic areas and more time in the pond and surrounding vegetation.
“It’s true that George returns from time to time to enjoy human companionship by the library door. It’s also true that the pavement is stained from his visits past and present. Library staff have tried various remedies including power washing and bleach, but nothing has made much of a difference.
“We know we won’t always have George. When that time comes, we’ll find a way to scour the pavement clean. But we’re in no hurry for George to move on. The community’s interest in George indicates that the majority are willing to put up with a little mess in exchange for the pleasure he brings to the library’s staff and visitors.”
The average life span of a domestic duck is 10 years or less, but the Muscovy is an exception – George could live to between 8 and 12 years old, according to www.hobbyfarms.com.
Date posted: October 7, 2011
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