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Bevis the banana eating duck lost and found 3.7 miles from its home on Pine Island

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Sep 24, 2020

Photo by Ndakhte Ndiaye Donald Willis holding Bevis.

When you say the word pet, many people envision dogs and cats, but for Donald Willis and Lisa Raghnell, Bevis, the duck, is counted among their beloved. They got Bevis along with three other white ducks when she was only a few days old and began raising them all.

“After a few months they really bonded with us and would follow us around, and eat bananas,” said Raghnell.

Willis and Raghnell, who are starting their own farm, have over a hundred birds, counting chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. According to Raghnell, this is why they failed at first to notice that Bevis had gone missing. She suspects the week prior, when the ducks went out on the canal for the first time, was when Bevis got lost.

Raghnell then saw a found duck talked about on social media but because of the 3.7-mile distance, she didn’t think it could be one of theirs.

“I can’t believe how far she made it,” said Raghnell. “I guess if you’re floating it’s possible to go that far. The canal goes straight to that house.”

As far as ascertaining the gender of a duck, Raghnell explained that only females quack, while males make more of a raspy sound. This made it easier to identify her when she was found.

Islander John Bredin said Bevis just showed up one day quacking and when he talked to her, she talked (quacked) back. He said he could tell it was a female by the sound of her voice. After a few days of Bevis’ visiting, Bredin said his wife Cheryl posted on social media that someone had lost their duck. A mutual friend came over with some food in an attempt to help catch Bevis.

“She wouldn’t come out of the water at first,” said Bredin, “but because I’m the only property on the canal that doesn’t have a seawall, this was the obvious place where the duck could get out of the water and actually get some rest.”

He said Bevis ate as much of the food as he would feed her, as she was clearly famished. As the duck gained confidence in Bredin, he said she came closer to him. His visiting daughter was able to feed Bevis by hand and so it seemed they were making progress, except every time they tried to catch her she would run off. After a few more days went by, Willis and Raghnell came looking for the duck they’d seen on social media. They went home to do a head count, realizing they were down a white duck.

After informing Bredin that if she were theirs, she would eat bananas, he tossed some of the fresh fruit her way. He said he knew when she gobbled it up immediately that they were correct, and this was their duck. They’d told the Bredins that not all their ducks will eat bananas, but if this was Bevis, as they’d suspected, she would. Willis and Raghnell were also unable to catch Bevis. So they came back with a duck buddy of hers in an animal crate, who Bevis recognized immediately.

“They showed her the duck buddy and they quacked back and forth at each other for a little bit,” said Bredin, “then she came up and surrendered … and went home with her duck buddy. It made us all want a duck.”