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Trawler breaks up ice to help hungry ducks

 

Associated Press

The Susie-Q fishing trawler, from the Susie-Q Fish Co. in Two Rivers, Wis., breaks up the ice on the Manitowoc River in Manitowoc, Wis., Thursday, so hungry ducks can dive into the water for minnows and mussels. The brutal cold winter has frozen inland waters and a large portion of Lake Michigan is covered in ice this year.

MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin's water-diving ducks received some help from residents who became concerned after learning ice was keeping ducks from gathering food this winter.

Animal rehabilitation clinics have been caring for a larger-than-usual number of malnourished ducks this winter. Some ducks don't migrate in winter and dive into water in search of food.

When conservationist Tom Kocourek heard frozen waterways were preventing the birds from finding food, he decided to do something about it, HTR Media reported Friday. The Two Rivers man called a marine contracting and engineering firm, which used a trawler to break up ice in Manitowoc and Two Rivers harbors.

"We figured we had to do something," said Mike LeClair, president of Susie-Q Fish Co. in Two Rivers. "We have to keep the ducks going. Maybe the Lord will keep us going."

Days after ducks had been spotted walking through streets in search of anything to eat, they were in the water, diving for food again.

"We were just blown away" by the effort, said Jim Knickelbine, executive director of Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve in Two Rivers. "We are just so grateful for the interest and commend them for what they are doing. For this to have happened says good things about our community."