Indian Pond ducks? They're just not natural


Six decoy ducks have been evicted from Indian Pond for not fitting in with the natural features of Fieldston.

The small pond, nestled between Indian Road and Livingston Avenue, has long been known as a home for turtles, fish and ducks. But one nearby resident, Jean Epes, tried to entice more ducks to the pond by adding six decoys to the mix, Stephen Boatti, president of the Fieldston Property Owners Association, said.

In July, local pondgoers were puzzled by the fakes. The Riverdale Press interviewed some residents who had been watching them float along, believing they were real, but The Press couldn’t get to the bottom of who had placed them there. 

Mr. Boati said he recently discovered that the culprit was Ms. Epes. She is in charge of the neighborhood’s pond committee and oversees the body of water.

It is still unclear whether her motive was to attract more wildlife to the spot to help make a stronger case against a recent, and controversial, development proposal that could disrupt the pond. However, the decoys, whatever their purpose, do not fit into Fieldston’s aesthetic values, Mr. Boati said. 

Properties in the Fieldston Historic District have to meet strict standards because it’s an historic district and it’s a Special Natural Area District. While it doesn’t seem like the decoy ducks were breaking any of the area’s many restrictions, the Fieldston Property Owners Association decided they were not appropriate.

“It was just an experiment, and it may have worked,” said Mr. Boatti, adding that more ducks seemed to find their way to Indian Pond over the last few weeks.

But in the end, he said, “it detracts from the natural nature of the pond to have fake ducks there.”

Ms. Epes did not respond to calls for comment.