California Wildlife Center Blog
Ducks in Your Pool?
As you approach your pool one day you notice several fuzzy little Mallard ducklings bobbing along the surface accompanied by their attentive mother. "Help", you think, "I have baby ducks in my pool!"
Every year, California Wildlife Center receives hundreds of calls from people with the same concern....baby ducks. As Mallard populations have grown, and suitable habitat has diminished, your swimming pool has become prime real estate for mother Mallards throughout our area.
There are several ways to keep migrating ducks (and ducks preparing to nest) from taking up residence in your pool or backyard. Discouraging nesting and residency before they occur is easier than solving these problems once they have occurred.
1. If you see a male and female duck frequenting your pool, chase them away! These are generally mated pairs looking for a suitable place to nest.
2. Do not leave out food that the ducks might eat. This is the number one way to discourage the ducks from staying around your pool or backyard.
3. Brightly colored objects floating freely in the pool, such as a beach ball or other floating pool toys discourage ducks.
4. Keep your pool covered when you are not using it.
5. Be sure to keep low lying brush and tall grasses clear to discourage nesting on your property.
If you have discovered baby ducks in your pool:
1. It is important to make sure they can get out. Ducklings are not able to fly out of the pool and cannot jump over the lip of the pool to escape. This results in their eventual drowning as they become exhausted and their soft down feathers become water-logged. Directions for creating a simple ramp (as well as other helpful tips) can be found HERE. There is also a commercial product available called the SKAMPER-RAMP that is useful for helping other types of wildlife (and your pets) escape from the pool.
2. Do not feed the ducklings. The babies will follow and forage with their mother on grasses and insects.
3. Be patient. Ducklings will be able to fly and leave your pool about 8 weeks after hatching.
Happy Spring! Quack-Quack!
P.S. If you have found a cold or ill duckling, follow these DUCK EMERGENCY guidelines.