‘Duck Whisperer’ takes over old science experiment


Esther Cho

Every day, Campus Supervisor Anthony Sulfaro feeds and cares for both the ducks and turtles in the pond.

Thuy Ngo, Feature Editor

“’You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?’”

Unlike Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” Bear Creek students know exactly what happens to the ducks during the winter months.

What they may not know is that the two ducks in the pond next to the A buildings were part of a class experiment conducted by former AP Biology teacher Dan Riordan. Riordan retired eight years ago, two years after he began the experiment.

According to Campus Supervisor Anthony Sulfaro, the ducks, approximately 10 years old, are Russian ducks.

Science teacher Jerry Myers took care of the ducks for several years before other staff attempted to take over. Anthony Sulfaro took up the job of guardian for the ducks two years ago. He also helps maintain the pond.

“A few teachers tried so I just said, ‘Hey, let me do it,’” Sulfaro said. “I love animals and I come here every day usually at 6:15 a.m.”

Sulfaro bought duck feed himself but later decided to ask around campus for any donations teachers were willing to give. Mr. Heberle, Mrs. Cancilla, and Mrs. Heinrich still actively donate in any form they can, whether it be a gift card to a local pet shop or money. Sulfaro says he appreciates the help.

“I asked the students in student government if they were willing to buy a bag of duck feed each year and they agreed, seeing it was only $15,” Student Government adviser Michael Heberle said. “I mean, they’re live animals and they can’t even fly.”

Even when summer arrives, Sulfaro continues to feed the ducks and fill up their pond every other day.

“I live near here; this is their home,” Sulfaro said. “No one personally takes care of them so I decided to take it upon myself to do it.”

Not only do the ducks not fly south for the winter, they stay in their pond all year long. Sulfaro has named them Whitey and Mickey, after his favorite former New York Yankee players.

Sulfaro says the ducks love sitting under the orange tree and swimming in their little man-made river right on the edge of their pond.

“Coach Rose even calls me the Duck Whisperer,” Sulfaro said.

Students might also not know that there are actually two turtles in the pond as well.

“The turtles’ names are Yogi and Moose and they’re also named after former Yankee baseball players,” Sulfaro said. “They even swim to the surface and eat bread from my hands.”