Have you noticed a nest in the yard? Or maybe on your daily stroll?
Maybe there were three eggs, then a few more in the nest and you’re wondering whether you should interfere, or maybe call someone.
We’re here with a duck-nest explainer to help.
You may not notice her immediately. The female, or hen, will take breaks from the nest to feed a bit, bathe and preen. And she may avoid the nest when you are around.
If you are sure that the eggs have been sitting for many days unattended by the hen — and therefore unincubated — then sadly the nest has been abandoned. In this case, you can remove the eggs because she is not coming back.
The male, called a drake, will leave his mate while she is sitting on the nest. This is a good thing because less action around the nest means it is less likely to be discovered by a predator. He has done a fine job protecting her as she fed and rested after the long spring migration.
If the hen is sitting on the nest, you can expect incubation to take about 25 days. Duck families will find their way to water if at all possible and ducklings are capable of walking surprising distances overland to reach suitable habitat: spring ponds and wetlands.
Ducklings become mobile within a day of hatching so the young family should move on quickly.
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Let ducks do as ducks do.
Don’t try to feed the hen because wild birds thrive best on wild food. Also, you may accidentally draw predators to the nest.
If you feel the birds are in danger of starvation or harm, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator for advice or assistance in moving them to better habitat.
This story also appeared across Ontario in Metroland news.
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