Published: Apr 01, 2010 4:41 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla - Bring a piece of bread to your neighborhood pond and you've got a new best friend. The dark colored muscovy ducks are seen floating on area lakes and waddling around local lawns.

"They're wonderful," says bird lover Yvette Bachman. "They're so cute and they don't harm anybody."

The birds are a Southwest Florida fixture but they're not native to the area; they are considered an invasive species. Starting Wednesday, a new federal rule makes it legal for property owners and wildlife officials to kill the birds outside their native areas. Notably, this federal rule does is not associated with changes at the state level; the state's present policy remains unchanged.The changes at the federal level are now congruent with policies that remain in place in Florida.

In the US, muscovy ducks are only considered native to Texas. Ducks in Florida might become targets.

And there's plenty who would like to see the birds go elsewhere. "There's poop and stuff all over the place," said one woman who has to walk through duck feces on her way to her apartment. "It's gross."

But animal rights advocates are up in arms, saying the law should be changed to save the ducks. "It's sick and terrible," said Brittany Modica. "Why should we be allowed to kill a living creature? Just because of poop?"