More ducks: A new duck cam shows a nesting hen at our Regenstein Library

June 16, 2023 • 1:30 pm

I was informed yesterday, not to my huge delight, that a mallard hen is nesting across the street from my office—on a window ledge at Regenstein Library. This would not normally be a problem, for when her babies hatched and jumped down one floor, we could herd them to BotanyPond (we’ve done it before from this area). The problem, of course, is that there IS no Botany Pond this year, which leaves us with a dilemma. Let nature take its course and let the mother lead the babies to water? But the nearest water is well over a mile and a half away: large ponds and lakes to the east and west, and the family would have to cross big and busy streets.  Most of them would probably not make it.

The other solution is to get the ducklings as they drop, put them in a box, and take them to the rehab people. (This is what I did this morning.) While this assures complete survival of the brood, it requires breaking up the family, as it’s impossible to catch the mother duck and take the whole family to the water.  \

Well, you can see the duck, whom the library folks have named Amy, at this site (be sure to press the “play” triangle), or by clicking on the screenshot below. I’m told the camera and feed will be upgraded soon.

In the meantime, I have about a month to get anxious; she just started incubating, and it’ll be about 28 days to Hatch Time. I had hoped to have a duckling-free season while Botany Pond got renovated, but it doesn’t seem to be working out.

Note to U of C people: this ledge is in an office, so don’t try seeing her from inside the library. And please don’t disturb her from the outside. Thanks!

4 thoughts on “More ducks: A new duck cam shows a nesting hen at our Regenstein Library

  1. Would a humane animal trap such as this one work, to lure and capture a mother duck, before any attempt is made to capture her babies? You’d need one big enough for a mother duck. Maybe the wildlife people could chime in on the feasibility of such an attempt.

    Could be a long shot to keep the family intact.

  2. The duck drama never ends. The hens can’t grok an empty pond it seems. Hopefully you’ll be able to rescue this brood like you did today with another hapless hen. More power to you boss!

  3. Not a wildlife person, just have worked with many similar boxy traps with cat rescue organizations. I can’t envision any bird going into one of these. (Even when I replace a bird bath dish, no one will go near it for for three days.)

    Did find a rescue group that ran (and met) a GoFundMe goal of buying a Parrot, Duck & Goose Rescue Net Gun. “Every year the volunteers of Burge Bird Rescue and the Kansas City Duck Rescue Team have saved the lives of dozens of abandoned domestic ducks, injured geese, and escaped parrots.  Some are easy to catch because they are either quite tame, seriously injured, or in a location that makes them easy to trap.  However, every year we go out on multiple rescue trips that end in failure because despite our nets, fences, and boats, the birds elude capture.” (Story was from 2017.)

    But I’d guess even if you’re a certified rescue organization with lots of trained volunteers, it would be unadvisable just to bring something that looks like a rifle on campus.

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