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.
The residents of the house at 3806 University were not identified, but they were Lucy Clemmons Davis and J. Oscar Davis. I present this photo of Mrs. Davis only because she looks exactly like a kind-hearted person who would feed and befriend ducks.
Sources & Notes
Top photo from Texas Week magazine (Aug. 24, 1946), via the Portal to Texas History, here.
Read the original Dallas Morning News story in the DMN archives: “Duck With Dander Up Interferes With Mails” (DMN, 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.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.