Sioux Falls ‘Duckman’ releases ducks back into the wild

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Mike Hillman, Sioux Falls’ very own duckman, moved eight of his orphaned ducks from the homemade pond in his backyard to a much bigger pond today. You might remember a recent Eye on KELOLAND our Perry Groten did about what he does. KELOLAND’s Perry Groten also

Mike Hillman has been running his duck rehab center in the backyard of his home in Sioux Falls for five years.

He takes care of orphaned ducks brought to him by both animal control and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

“When I get them, the first twenty-four to thirty-six hours is really critical to kind of get them stable. You gotta make sure they’re eating and drinking and then once that part is over than it’s just a matter of taking care of them until they are ready to release,” Duck Rehab Specialist Mike Hillman said.

Once the ducks are six to seven weeks old, they are ready to venture out into bigger ponds on their own.

“They hang out, get used to their surroundings and then at some point here in the next few days they’ll start flying in the pond and then they’ll make their own way,” Hillman said.

Hillman is the only duck rehabilitator in the area. Lynn Purdy, the weekend and night manager at the outdoor campus in Sioux Falls, says they receive hundreds of calls about orphan ducks, and Hillman takes the burden off of them.

But there’s more than just helping the young birds; Purdy says Hillman’s program is also educational.

“Mike likes to educate people and he includes everybody in their development. That’s why he uses cameras and in their release,” Lynn Purdy with S.D. Game, Fish and Parks said.

Ducks are still being rescued throughout KELOLAND.

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