Tuesday duck report

November 12, 2019 • 4:39 pm

The pond is now partly frozen, but the ducks are still hanging on, though fewer in number. Our Secret Duck Farmer sent a brief report and a photo:

19 ducks for dinner on the mostly frozen pond. 18 degrees out right now.
Look: some ducks are standing on the ice! I haven’t seen that before.
We are consulting with experts to see if we should stop feeding them to stimulate migration. The thing is, though that some mallards overwinter in this area. But I don’t want them overwintering in a small frozen pond.

13 thoughts on “Tuesday duck report

  1. I did a Google search on this question. Mostly, it seems the answer is yes, feeding migratory ducks in the fall may well delay or even prevent their migration. And there are many warnings not to feed ducks for that reason. I don’t know if it is a scientific fact or not, but many of the sources appear authoritative.

    My own theory (which is mine) is that a well-fed duck is a happy duck, and happy ducks are reluctant to get off the gravy train even if they’re cold.

    1. I don’t have any information on what ducks being fed will do or not do. However, I think they will go when it’s time for them to go, regardless of the feeding. We currently have a few ducks and a lot of geese on the ponds here in Wichita. Last night we had a record 8 degrees for a low. Some of the ponds iced up but that did not bother the geese. My other thought is water. They will remain if they want as long as the water is open. Once it all freezes they must go where they can get water.

      1. Unless “time to go” is a direct function of food availability. I believe this is what tells cranes to head south.

        1. In the spring thousands of cranes gather in a specific area of the sand hills of Nebraska every year. They come for the food and water along the Platt river. Then they all leave. Why do they leave?

  2. Well… I googled and found Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Migration Reports with interactive map. YAY!

    It’s for hunters. BOO!

    The “reports” say things like Tues, Nov. 12, Burnet Tx: “Hunted a small pond and got 12 ducks between 3 guys. Gadwalls, Redheads, and Shovelers.”

    So I vote for feeding Honey & the rest, providing warm places to sleep (google winter cat house for ideas).

    They’ll overpopulate, but the alternative is flying through places where people might shoot them! *cries*

    1. providing warm places to sleep (google winter cat house for ideas).

      The Associated of Street Cats Indigently Incorporated (Chicago Division) endorses this contribution to their over-wintering food supply.

      (A non-geographical designation, ASCII, has a surprising history of sabotaging typewriters to force the development of electronic communication and thereby warmer cat-resting-platforms.)

  3. This is a true dilemma. To feed or not to feed, that is the question. In the end, of course, we have no free will and must feed the duckies.

    1. Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Chicago winter, or to take wing from Botany Pond for the long trek to warmer climes. 🙂

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