A Harlingen area family was left puzzled on Sunday when a duck decoy they had placed in their backyard to attract real ducks failed to perform to plan.
Christopher and Adriana Baker were both approached by their two young children early that afternoon about their desire to attract some area wildlife to the property. When the question of using the duck decoy, which had for the past six years served as a decoration in the family's guest bathroom, was brought up by the eldest child Christine both parents thought it would be a terrific idea.
By all accounts, their carefully executed attempt should have worked perfectly. They began by placing the decoy in an open space outside, then ran back into the house and proceeded to observe the decoy through the bay window being sure to stay as quiet as possible the entire time. However, for unknown reasons not a single duck was ever attracted. A little more than 5 1/2 hours into the effort it became apparent that a significant malfunction with the decoy had occurred.
"We couldn't explain it," Mrs. Baker said. "We didn't then, and still have no idea why the decoy didn't work. No one does."
The girl's father was visibly upset at the time: "How can I describe the look of anticipation on my little girls' faces? All they wanted was to see some ducks and when it came time to depend on the decoy to deliver joy to our family, we were all left horribly disappointed."
Afterwards, the family had no choice but to load everyone into the car and drive the long 3/4 mile trek to the Pendleton Park duck pond to obtain what would later be classified as the "hollow and empty" satisfaction of viewing live ducks that were not located in their own backyard.
An investigation conducted by a local independent duck decoy lab yielded inconclusive and troubling results. Dr. Emiterio De La Cruz of the Harlingen Center For Duck Decoy Studies (HCDDS) published a two hundred twelve page report that in part states.
"The cause for the decoy's lack of performance was unable to be determined by this facility after a battery of eighty-seven separate tests. Initially, the decoy appeared to be in top operating condition and yet, it did not function within even the slightest margin of acceptable limits." The report concluded ominously, "this situation has rocked the very foundation of the duck decoy industry and the facts of this case will no doubt be debated for decades to come."
The entire experience has left the Baker family dejected and emotionally taxed, the report's findings doing little to provide closure. As for any future plans for attracting local wild animals to their yard, "I guess that next time we'll probably just go and refill the bird feeder or something." Mrs. Baker said.