Wild Animals/duck nest


I have recently found a ducks nest in my back yard, the momma is sitting on.  I was just curious as to how the momma and her ducklings would get to the lake.  We live about five miles from the nearest lake.  Thank you for your time.

Dear Stacey

Thank you for your question and for your concern for the duck. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used. I have chosen websites run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), as they specifically care about the welfare of birds and other animals.

First of all, the mother knows where the nearest suitable water is. She probably visits it to feed and bathe when she isn't sitting on the nest. http://www.rspca.org.uk/utilities/faq/-/question/ENQWADMotherDuckDucklings and http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/nesting_mallards/ducklings.aspx say that It is quite common for mother ducks to nest away from water. The ducklings stay in the nest for at least 10 hours while they dry their plumage and get used to using their legs. Then, usually in the early morning, the female leads them to water as soon as possible, but bad weather may delay this. The sooner the ducklings get to water to feed, the better their chances of survival. The duck and ducklings may go through built up areas and cross busy roads. It is very difficult to help a duck family across a road without frightening them. Frightened ducklings will scatter around and the mother is likely to fly off.  People can slowly and carefully herd the family group to water and the websites give advice if you have any problems in this matter. It is better to let the mother herd the ducklings unaided, but directing the traffic when the birds are trying to cross a road may prevent accidents.

I hope this helps

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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