‘It’s just horrifying’: Two ducks were found with their beaks severed in Fountain Valley

A mallard with beak removed.
Two mallards were found at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley with their beaks removed. The two birds were alive but starving, forcing officials at the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center to euthanize them.
(Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center)

Two ducks that were recently found starving in Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley with their beaks severed had to be euthanized because they were unable to eat on their own, authorities said.

Now, law enforcement officials are looking into how the bizarre injuries occurred and who may have been targeting the birds.

The two ducks had to be put down because of the severity of their wounds, and their inability to eat, said Debbie McGuire, executive director at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach. Officials are now asking for the public’s help in determining whether someone is responsible for mutilating the wild animals.


“It’s just horrifying,” McGuire said.

The two birds were still alive when they were both brought to the center, a nonprofit group that helps care for injured wildlife. “I feel like it could have been just purely malicious,” she said of their wounds.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident and, though odd, is also considering the possibility the injuries could have been caused out in the wild, said Capt. Bill Dailey.

“They could have flown down together, but we don’t even know that,” Dailey said. “We’re looking into it but there’s no real leads on this.”

The first duck was taken to the center July 31 by a member of the public, McGuire said. Two weeks later, someone alerted OC Animal Care about a second duck at the park with similar injuries.

Officials are concerned additional animals may have been harmed but were taken by coyotes or other predators.

OC Animal Care, OC Park Rangers and officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have been contacted about the attacks. McGuire said law enforcement officials with the agencies have also been given a video obtained by a resident who recorded two people who appeared to be injuring ducks. The ducks sounded like they were in distress, McGuire said.


Dailey said investigators believe the video may be connected to a different incident in which someone may have been plucking feathers off a duck. Investigators are looking into all possible leads, he said.

The incidents have nevertheless raised concerns about attacks to animals at the large urban park, which attracts a variety of wildlife with its two fishing lakes and vast green space. On Thursday night, McGuire said, she received a second video that showed two pond turtles that appeared to have been beheaded sometime in mid-July.

“It’s atrocious,” she said.

Officials are asking anyone with information on the attacks to call CalTip at 888-334-2258, or OC Animal Care at 714-935-6848.