Duck chooses to nest outside Coralville Public Library

Live Web stream gaining community interest

Published: May 3 2013 | 7:15 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 2:52 pm in
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A local library may have found the next big thing since the Decorah eagles live stream.

A small webcam has been installed inside the Coralville Public Library documenting a female duck that has chosen to nest outside the library’s mailroom sometime this week. Coralville Library Director Alison Ames Galstad said she is truly an urban duck.

“It’s not the quietest spot, it’s very near the drive-up book drop,” Galstad said with a laugh. “I’m not sure why she picked it.”

Galstad said Coralville Public Library Adult Services Coordinator Laura Crossett decided to rig up the webcam to watch the duck's progress.

“We were trying to figure out how to keep an eye on her without bothering her,” Galstad said.

The Web site streaming the webcam went live around 11 a.m. Thursday, and within an hour gained over 100 views and several followers. Some viewers suggested a name for the duck, including “Mrs. Beakley,” and “Miss Quackers.”

But viewers may have to start coming up with more names, because the duck isn’t alone.

Library staffers noticed Thursday morning the duck had laid around seven eggs, and decided she was here for the long haul. “They’re about half the size of chicken eggs, and light green blue in color,” interlibrary loan assistant Nat Christenson said. “I can see them [eggs] when she moves around.”

Christenson sits on the other side of the glass from where the duck has chosen to nest. The duck hasn’t been very active, but Christenson said she always keeps an eye on him. He added her nesting area is usually cleared out by this time of year to plant flowers.

“But I think it’s been so cold they haven’t,” Christenson said. “It’s a great natural nest, and provides good camouflage.”

Crossett said animals hanging around the library isn't all that uncommon. She said a couple of summers ago, a spider began hanging outside a co-workers window for quite a while, but said the thought didn’t dawn on her to rig up a webcam. Galstad added there are also some Iowa native plantings in front of Café del Sol, and it wouldn’t be unusual to see ducks roaming around there in the spring.

“Usually they’re traveling through, or on their way to the pond at Morrison Park,” Galstad said. “But they haven’t nested there.”

Crossett believes people love watching animals, referencing the overwhelming popularity of the Decorah eagle webcam. Crossett added having the new addition to the staff posed a great way to learn about ducks.

“They can lay up to 12 eggs, around 1 to 2 a day,” Crossett said. “It can take about 29 days to incubate. We’re probably going to have her here all month.”

Next on the to-do list for the library is to contact a wildlife agency to make sure they are doing everything right -- "If there is any protection we should be putting into place, or to keep her shielded a little bit,” Galstad said.

Crossett said the library wants to provide the best and safest environment possible for the duck.

When talking about why she believes the duck chose the spot she did, Crossett replied, “she’s the best judge for that." Crossett said she hopes “it’s a sign, co-existing with the things around us,” adding it’s a “rarely observed, intimate and close experience.”

"However, watch it on the web, not in person," Crossett said.“We ask to respect her as a mother to tend to her eggs and give her some distance."

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