Have you ever wondered how much water it takes to attract wild ducks?
I didn’t. Until… ducks arrived at a small puddle of water on the other side of our fence. It’s a transient body of water that exists only during times of prolonged rain. And, it’s rather secluded, tucked between homes and a row of forest trees. Up to this point only neighborhood children looking for mud and laughter have been attracted by the lure of this little pool of standing water.
This male mallard was the first to waddle into the puddle.
He must have found the puddle to be satisfactory. The next evening, he was back with a lady friend.
The puddle shore at the grassy edge of the forest provided a cozy and safe place for the couple to preen, relax, and catch a bit of shut-eye.
Suddenly, the female was roused and her attention drew skyward.
The male also was alert. In the moment’s notice… the two were off.
A small flock of Wood Ducks arrived. However, they performed a very quick touch and go. Only one who hesitated got his portrait taken.
Lucky for the mallards, the Wood Ducks were not comfortable in that suburban puddle tucked between homes and a row of forest trees. The pair of “puddle duck” returned and enjoyed late afternoon visits for another week or so. Then they disappeared. Which brings me back to the original question~
… how much water does it take to attract wild ducks?
Apparently a large pond is not required. However, a suffcient source of contained water is necessary because ducks use it in many different ways. First, water must be deep enough to submerge their whole head so they can keep mucous membranes moist and clean out their bills. When a duck eats or digs in the dirt, it requires the ability to rinse the dirt out and wash food down. Without proper depth, a duck could choke.
Unlike other birds, ducks do not take dust baths to get rid of parasites and mites. They bathe in water to keep themselves free of pests. Bathing serves another purpose. Ducks have an oil gland at the base of their tails that is activated when splashing water over their backs. Water enough for bathing is critical so waterproofing oils can be released and distributed over feathers when preening. Ducks depend on this oil to help them swim and for protection from the rain and cold.
Ideally, an amount of water sufficient for mating is preferable. Although ducks can mate out of water, they are said to be more fertile and healthier if they can mate while swimming.
Oh… that makes sense. The puddle duck pair stuck around for another week… they had a calling that required bigger water.
Time to move on to the nearby big pond…
How Much Water do Ducks Need?: https://www.lifeisjustducky.com/do-ducks-need-a-pond/