Mary Ann Cotton with a poster of a photo her daughter took at Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)

Who knew a simple photo of a water fowl with her chicklets would cause a stir at a retirement community?

Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community is having a debate over whether a picture on their community bulletin board is a photo of a duck with her ducklings or a goose with her goslings.  So far the vote among the residents of Willamette Lutheran is about even.

Resident Mary Ann Cotton’s daughter, Claudia Wark of Washington state, was visiting her mother when she noticed the bird and her little ones parading through the retirement community’s courtyard.  Wark took a photo and it quickly was posted on the board near the lobby.  And the discussion began.

Some residents insisted that it was a photo of a duck while others were sure it was a goose.  Executive Director Raeanne McDonald saw an opportunity for a party and asked residents to place their vote on whether it was a duck or a goose.

The final answer will be revealed at a party at Willamette Lutheran on Friday, July 1, complete with cheese and “quackers.”

McDonald even got fowl experts involved; she called Darcie Wentzel at the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health and Identity department.  Wentzel said “They are ducks.” Other experts, such as Brandon S. Reishus of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Chris Brindle of Wild Birds Unlimited in Salem, both said it was a photo of a hen mallard duck with her ducklings.

At press time 24 Willamette Lutheran residents voted that it was a goose; 23 voted that was a duck.  Many more were undecided.

The final answer will be hatched at the party on Friday.