Wednesday Zen Moment: Duck ramps go up in U.S. Capitol to applause, criticism. Yes, criticism.

Waste! Squander! Quackery!

Yes, actually pure political quackery.

Duck ramps have gone up for feathered visitors to the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.

The Architect of the Capitol, an office that tends to landmark buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill, has made accommodations for annual mallard duck return to the National Mall in Union Square.

“The ducks have made the pool their home – an oasis in the urban jungle of Washington, D.C.— and as the temperatures rise in the region, newly-hatched ducklings will join the fray,” the office’s spokesperson Erin Courtney explained.

Te Capitol Reflecting Pool is popular for ducks and humans, but not so friendly to young ducks.

“The broad gently sloped limestone coping of the pool, however, has an unintended side-effect for our feathered-friends. Some ducklings have trouble climbing out of the pool or returning to it once out of the water,” Courtney continued.

The Architect of the Capitol worked with City Wildlife, which rescues and cares for wayward animals in Washington, to address the problem.

“We held a design charrette to determine the best ramp design to allow ducks of all ages to enter and exit the pool easily over the existing limestone curb. I’m proud of the AOC team’s enthusiasm for solving this challenge,” said Nancy Skinkle, a director in AOC’s planning and project management division.

And, it totally works.


Of course, because it’s Washington, it’s caused flap.

One politician calling it a waste of taxpayer money.

The thrifty Republican from North Carolina, Mark Walker, suggested there must be a better use of government dollars.

But some Americans had ruffled feathers with his stance.

Indeed, it’s tough talk about a duck.

Anne Lewis, president of City Wildlife, said ducks have an “uncanny ability” to find a way out of water.

That is, if there is one.

“We can never truly predict their behavior, but our goal is to provide them the means to get in and out of the water, which is what they need to do in the wild to protect their duckling from becoming waterlogged or cold,” she said. “The rest is up to them, but they do have a strong survival instinct especially when there are ducklings involved.”

Photos Architect of the Capitol/Twitter

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Recovering newspaper reporter.


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