The Lake Elsinore Duck Sanctuary is preparing to take in abandoned Easter chicks

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (KABC) — Howie Berkowitz didn’t intend to dedicate his life’s work to waterfowl, it just happened that way.

“It started with five ducks,” he said.

Then he got a call from a feed store where he bought his chicken feed.

“One day she called and said, ‘Oh, I have five ducks that just got dropped off, would you take them?'” he recalled.

Now, a decade later, Berkowitz cares for more than 100 ducks at his nonprofit sanctuary.Elsinore duck pond.

“I love these animals,” Berkowitz said. “I tell people that every day, if you look these animals in the eye, they have a soul and they look at you and they know you care.”

On his 3-acre property on Lake Elsinore, Berkowitz approaches mating season by carefully separating his ducks, but even that won’t stop the ducklings he’ll soon be caring for.

“The spring season is the worst time for us,” he said.

That’s because he knows those fluffy, cuddly and adorable ducklings bought from feed stores at Easter will be quickly abandoned.

“Please don’t buy them because what’s going to happen, eventually you won’t want them anymore because they’re a nuisance,” Berkowitz said. “They’re not the best pets in the world, people take them to parks and lakes and leave them there.”

Many of the ducks at his sanctuary arrived starved, maimed and dying.

“Ducks that you buy at any feed store are going to be domestic ducks, so they can’t fly, they don’t have a defense mechanism, and they really don’t know how to forage,” Berkowitz said.

While the ducks he takes in thrive under his care, it also costs hundreds of dollars to feed, water, and provide them with everything they need on a daily basis.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, I just became a 501(c)(3). Basically, I sold my fortune to take care of her,” he said.

He is currently trying to buy a five acre property in Wildomar to expand his activities and provide a forever home for the abandoned waterfowl. He set one up GoFundMe if anyone is interested in helping the shelter. The Lake Elsinore Duck Sanctuary is preparing to take in abandoned Easter chicks

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