Every year wildlife rescues get many calls about ducks (usually mallards) nesting in gardens, on balconies, or even in hanging baskets. During Spring, water sources become very crowded and female ducks are subjected to a lot of 'attention' from the males so females will often seek to hatch their eggs in quieter locations. This doesn't always go well!

In theory, once the eggs hatch, Mum will walk them to a suitable body of water and raise them there. This plan doesn't work so well when the nearby body of water is a garden pond or swimming pool or when the closest body of water is more than walking distance away or involves crossing busy roads. If Mum tries to raise the babies away from a suitable water body, there won't be enough food or water for them and the babies will be very vulnerable to predators.

The best solution is to stop the problem from occurring at all. If you see a pair of mallards hanging around an unsuitable nesting area during Spring or Summer, and it's not close to a pond, it's kindest in the long run to discourage them. Simply going out and flapping your arms to 'shoo' them away should do it.

If you're too late and Mum lays her eggs, try to note the date they are laid and contact a wildlife rescue to get them onboard as early as possible. They will be able to calculate when the eggs are likely to hatch and when intervention is needed.

Once the eggs hatch DO NOT try to intervene yourself. A skilled rescuer will be able to either help Mum get to a pond, or catch her so that the whole family can be relocated together. If you try to catch any of the family yourself, you could end up scaring Mum away and then the babies will have to be raised in captivity. If you are able, without disturbing them, a headcount of the ducklings will help the rescuer to ensure that they are all caught and none get left behind.

You can search for a wildlife rescue in your area by putting your location into the search facility on our  map page.