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Mallard Families on the March


There was a time when a Mallard duck could lay her eggs pretty much anywhere without concern that there might be impassable obstacles between her future hatchlings and the nearest body of water. But human changes to the landscape, including buildings, fences, roads and the draining of countless acres of wetlands, have put an end to those relatively carefree nesting days. Unfortunately, the ducks have yet to realize it.

As I write this I know that there are mallards all over the Greater Seattle Area that are sitting on eggs in planters, hedgerows and at the edges of lawns. Others are already marching newly hatched ducklings toward the nearest water source. I know this both from past experience, and from the fact that we have already received many young mallards this year that have gone astray during their first overland journey.


As you go about your daily business, keep a look out for these tiny, downy travelers. If you spot a mom leading a brood, try to determine where she might be headed and what obstacles may lie in her path. Does she have to cross a busy road? Is there a fence or other barrier that the babies might not be able to navigate? If the family seems to be on a collision course with trouble, consider providing them with a little assistance. Alert other people to their presence and ask them to give the ducks some space and let them pass.

If a situation arises that you feel requires more direct intervention, call 425.412.4040 to speak to us here at the PAWS Wildlife Center. We have years of experience troubleshooting just about every situation you can imagine with young mallards on the move, and we are just a phone call away.

Get more wildlife information at PAWS.org



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