More ducks killed in apparent pellet gun attacks at Costa Mesa park, police say

Geese and ducks near the pond at TeWinkle Park on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
Geese and ducks near the pond at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa, seen on April 5, appear to be the recent targets of a suspect who is allegedly shooting waterfowl there with a pellet gun.
(Don Leach / Times Community News)

Less than two weeks after four ducks were found shot and killed at Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park, more birds have been discovered with similar injuries and taken to a wildlife rescue center, where most of them died, officials said Monday.

Costa Mesa Police Department spokesperson Roxi Fyad said that an unspecified number of ducks and geese were found at the park over the weekend. They appeared to have sustained injuries similar to those suffered by birds whose bodies were found at TeWinkle the morning of April 18, riddled with what police believe to be pellets fired from a gun.

Officials with the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center said Monday on Facebook that “all the injured ducks and geese that came to us on Friday have unfortunately passed away.” Another bird brought into the Huntington Beach facility on Saturday, described as an American Pekin duck, was alive and being cared for by a waterfowl rehabilitator, the center said.

An X-ray of a duck
An X-ray of a Muscovy duck reportedly killed at Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park shows the bird sustained four bullet wounds.
(Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center)

“We want to reassure people we are investigating,” Fyad said.

Costa Mesa residents have expressed concern for the welfare of the waterfowl — including the more well-known deceased ducks Darryl, Grace and Mr. Chipper — who have not only been the targets of unknown shooters but have also endured recent droppings of massive amounts of bread, tortillas and doughnuts and recent attacks by coyotes.

Sandra Cotten, a duck lover who visits TeWinkle at least once a day, said four or five waterfowl were killed by coyotes one week before the shooting incident was reported April 18. When she went to the park Friday, an employee shared information on a more recent attack.

He “said they found three more injured ducks, and one dead mallard. I said, ‘So is this coyotes?’ and he said, ‘No, it was a gun,’” she said Monday. “It’s very depressing.”

Residents have taken to social media to ask local law enforcement to install cameras at the park to help identify suspects who might be committing crimes against the wildlife and to suggest increased patrols of TeWinkle Park.

“I just hope they catch somebody,” Cotten said.

Anyone with information relevant to the Costa Mesa police investigation is asked to call Det. Jon Smith at (714) 754-5097.

Ducks by a pond
Muscovy ducks Grace and Mr. Chipper, alive on the evening of April 17, were found shot to death the next morning at Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park. Police said Monday more similarly injured fowl were discovered over the weekend.
(Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center)