University Park’s Belligerent Duck, Enemy of Mailmen — 1946

by Paula Bosse

“Neither snow nor rain nor duck…”

by Paula Bosse

The past few weeks have been hot and exasperating, so here’s a nice little human-interest story about a duck attacking a mailman. Whilst on his appointed rounds through University Park, United States postal carrier L. F. Wilson was attacked and bitten by a confrontational duck which regularly hung out on the porch of a Turtle Creek-adjacent University Boulevard home. According to another mailman (who had also been attacked), the hostile waterfowl probably chose this house to zealously patrol because the lady of the house fed the duck and “the duck likes the lady.”

 On August 13, 1946, a reporter at The Dallas Morning News who had heard about this “belligerent duck” decided to accompany Wilson to see the dangerous guard-duck in person. Not only did the duck bite Wilson for a second time, he also chased the reporter out of the yard. The second mailman said that he, too, had been chased by the duck and told the reporter that the duck would even charge at the owner of the house and force him back inside if he dared venture onto his own porch to read his newspaper. That was one angry, territorial duck.

It must have been a slow news day, because the following day this story — and a photograph — appeared on the FRONT PAGE of The Dallas Morning News. Not only that, but the photo and story were picked up by newspapers across the U.S. and Canada. North Americans love good duck reportage.

Here’s the DFW coverage (click for larger images):

DMN, Aug. 14, 1946

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Aug. 15, 1946

The residents of the house at 3806 University were not identified, but they were Lucy and J. Oscar Davis, seen below in a photo taken four years later as the couple was about to set sail for a European vacation. (I present this photo only because Mrs. Davis looks exactly like a kind-hearted person who would feed and befriend ducks.)

DMN, July 15, 1950

In order to follow this story through to the end, I feel I should offer up a final mention of the truculent duck. But if you’re an animal-lover like I am, you might want to just bypass this news item and, instead, choose to imagine the feisty and fuming little duck paddling aggressively along Turtle Creek until he’d grown old and gray and had, perhaps, mellowed a bit. But if you require closure and the cold hard facts of reality, read on. (Kudos to the DMN for the follow-up, but I’m going to make this really small. Click for larger image.)

DMN, Dec. 10, 1946


Top photo from Texas Week magazine (Aug. 24, 1946); it originally appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Aug. 14, 1946..

The house on University Blvd. is across the creek from Goar Park and the University Park Fire Department, and across University Blvd. from Williams Park. It you’d like an aerial view of the duck’s old stomping paddling grounds (and the site of one-too-many duck attacks), take a look here (the view is to the west).

Because it’s one of those totally random things people feel they should bring to one’s attention simply because it’s totally random, I feel I should mention that the photo of the duck attack was taken the same day that British author H. G. Wells was drawing his last breath (his obit received only one-fourth the amount of space in the Morning News as the UP/USPS duck situation). H. G. Wells was in Dallas at least once — he gave a lecture at SMU on Nov. 1, 1940. A picture of him drinking tea at the Baker Hotel is here.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.