The Fourth of July lures a wide assortment of visitors to our area.


The Fourth of July lures a wide assortment of visitors to our area.

There are those that drive in, some that fly in, and even some that boat.

There are visitors that used to call Gulf County home, some who wish to call Gulf County home, first-timers, and life-timers.

But this year’s holiday season may have brought in the strangest visitors of all to this city by St. Joseph Bay.

A mini-flock of featherless ducks.

The ducks, unable to fly, pulled into Gulf County in the back of an automobile and now will travel on in the same fashion to a new home in Vero Beach.

According to Abby Smith, the feathered visitor’s adopted caretaker, the birds have enjoyed themselves during their bayside vacation, soaking in the July sun’s rays as they paddle and quack themselves around a inflatable kiddy pool.

Smith, who lives Louisiana, found the ducks walking along the median of I-10 in her home state and being an animal lover decided to stop and offer assistance.

“Most people don’t stop alongside the road and it’s actually very dangerous,” Smith said. “I am a nurse and I wouldn’t recommend people do that.”

That day Smith rescued three ducks.

Unfortunately two of the ducklings did not make it, and not wanting to leave the one roadside survivor by itself, Smith purchased four additional ducklings.

This isn’t a first-time rescue for Smith, who as a child raised a nest of ducklings after their mother had been killed.

Needing a home for the infant avians, Smith asked her parents, Bill and Janice, if they would take the ducklings back to their home in Vero Beach.

The elder Smiths have a large pond in their backyard which they have used in the past for stray ducks that Abby Smith and her father have collected.

In order to not make one party drive the entire 10-hour journey, Abby Smith, along with Brian Baudoin, met the parents halfway here in Port St. Joe.

It is a first-time visit to the area for all four who said they had just about as good of a time as the ducks have had.

After the ducks make their journey to Vero Beach and grow feathers they will be let out into the half-acre Smith pond with the 17 other ducks that already call it home.