help- Ducklings?

noodles123

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Jul 11, 2018
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Yesterday, I was driving near my house when I saw 2 ducklings (likely mallard duck babies)--- they were young (about the size of a large pear each) and without their mother/ unable to fly--I looked all around for her and I checked on them an hour later (still no mom--despite the fact that they had walked quite a way since I first saw them). They looked healthy, but very lost.

At first, I thought they were quail but when I saw they were ducks,I left them outside of the apartment complex where I spotted them and drove home (like a block away) to call my vet who said to leave them and come back tomorrow to check if I could. I asked around at the complex and no one knew of anyone breeding or keeping ducks, nor is it legal to do so in my city.

I went back last night to see if they were even there and they had walked a block of so over--I got out of the car just as they ran under a 6ft privacy fence in a house that looked unoccupied (but it wasn't the best area, so I didn't want to snoop and get in trouble).

The yard had a lot of grackles in it... eek

I drove back a few times to see if they had come out of the yard and I didn't see them. This morning, I went by at like 5:30 AM and made quacking sounds to see if they would come out...

I am guessing they were eaten by something (if not the grackles, any number of predators could have gotten them).

I just can't let it go though...
Any thoughts on what I should do in the future if this happens again? Any thoughts on whether they might have survived the night without a mother?

I am kicking myself for not intervening because, despite the slim possibility that the mother may have come back, it was fairly clear to me that they were alone and they were pretty far from water (as they lack the ability to fly).

What could I do if I did find them?
I know they can drown in water, I know they can eat independently, and I know that they need a non-slick surface to walk on...and warmth...Again, I don't have them in my possession, but I think they would have stood a better chance with me (given the situation)..I am mad that I left them because I am sure that they didn't survive the night.

I called a wildlife center for advice last night but no one answered....
 

SailBoat

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NOTE: It is common for several different duck species to lay their eyes away from a water source as the predation near water is 80% higher. It is not unusual to see News Reports of a mother duck and her ten ducklings crossing a busy street far from water.

It is also common for the mother to leave them for a given amount of time for any number of reasons in which leading a predator away from them being the most common. All Wildlife Centers will advise leaving the duckings as in the vast number of cases, mother returns.

After hours, the vast number of wildlife center turn off the phones or resist answering, especially this time of the year. Plus, they are likely filled and with the exception of endangered species cannot take any more in. DNR Officers and Local Police have the 'special' all hours phone number and they will not call for you or give you the number. Call them if you come across an endangered species.
 
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noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
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They were alone for many hours-- I was creeping around from like 100 feet away (where other cars were also driving, so I didn't scare them). I am pretty sure they were eaten. My neighborhood is CRAWLING with cats and predatory birds.
The ducklings seemed very confused and I noticed them because someone almost ran them over.
I didn't mess with them, but by sunset, they were very far from where mother may have left them..and I doubt she left them where I first spotted them...

Thank you though

Vet said to go and see if I could find them the following day and if they were still alone, to bring them in to the wildlife place.

I circled around probably 7 times between 6pm and 5:30 AM and couldn't find them (even quacked at the fence the following day lol).
 
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T00tsyd

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They were alone for many hours-- I was creeping around from like 100 feet away (where other cars were also driving, so I didn't scare them). I am pretty sure they were eaten. My neighborhood is CRAWLING with cats and predatory birds.
The ducklings seemed very confused and I noticed them because someone almost ran them over.
I didn't mess with them, but by sunset, they were very far from where mother may have left them..and I doubt she left them where I first spotted them...

Thank you though

Vet said to go and see if I could find them the following day and if they were still alone, to bring them in to the wildlife place.

I circled around probably 7 times between 6pm and 5:30 AM and couldn't find them (even quacked at the fence the following day lol).

Here in the UK we have several wildlife organisations who will take injured or young creatures into their care get them fit and release them. Is there nothing like that near you?
 
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noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
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They were closed and my vet said to leave them within a block radius, as the mother could return. I didn't want to move them in case she did- but the organization I called never returned my call, although we do have wildlife rescue here (the thing is, they are RARELY open past 4 or 5PM)-- it gets dark here at around 9PM, so I saw them at 6PM but it was too late in terms of the rescue at that point (although I did try to call)
 

T00tsyd

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They were closed and my vet said to leave them within a block radius, as the mother could return. I didn't want to move them in case she did- but the organization I called never returned my call, although we do have wildlife rescue here (the thing is, they are RARELY open past 4 or 5PM)-- it gets dark here at around 9PM, so I saw them at 6PM but it was too late in terms of the rescue at that point (although I did try to call)

You say you are not allowed to have ducks in your city, would it also be wrong to save them just overnight?
 
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noodles123

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They were closed and my vet said to leave them within a block radius, as the mother could return. I didn't want to move them in case she did- but the organization I called never returned my call, although we do have wildlife rescue here (the thing is, they are RARELY open past 4 or 5PM)-- it gets dark here at around 9PM, so I saw them at 6PM but it was too late in terms of the rescue at that point (although I did try to call)

You say you are not allowed to have ducks in your city, would it also be wrong to save them just overnight?

I could have gotten away with it, but I didn't want to dive in what I had no idea whether the mom would return or how to keep them warm. Following research, I believe I could have done it with a box, some towels and straw, but at the time, I was trying not to meddle.
I was following the advice from my avian vet and then I decided that it was wrong to leave them (not because it was inherently incorrect, but because I think I was a pretty good judge of the situation, and I have never seen ducklings alone for so long). Sadly, they ran under the huge privacy fence of an unoccupied house before I could approach- and I have been fretting about my inaction ever since. I had a box and gloves in the car at that point, but I was too late. I know the mom COULD have returned, but I would bet money she didn't. Initially, I wasn't so certain, and by the time I was, I couldn't intervene.
 
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T00tsyd

Well-known member
May 8, 2017
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UK
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Green cheek conure - Sydney (Syd) Hatched 2/2017
They were closed and my vet said to leave them within a block radius, as the mother could return. I didn't want to move them in case she did- but the organization I called never returned my call, although we do have wildlife rescue here (the thing is, they are RARELY open past 4 or 5PM)-- it gets dark here at around 9PM, so I saw them at 6PM but it was too late in terms of the rescue at that point (although I did try to call)

You say you are not allowed to have ducks in your city, would it also be wrong to save them just overnight?

I could have gotten away with it, but I didn't want to dive in what I had no idea whether the mom would return or how to keep them warm. Following research, I believe I could have done it with a box, some towels and straw, but at the time, I was trying not to meddle.
I was following the advice from my avian vet and then I decided that it was wrong to leave them (not because it was inherently incorrect, but because I think I was a pretty good judge of the situation, and I have never seen ducklings alone for so long). Sadly, they ran under the huge privacy fence of an unoccupied house before I could approach- and I have been fretting about my inaction ever since. I had a box and gloves in the car at that point, but I was too late. I know the mom COULD have returned, but I would bet money she didn't. Initially, I wasn't so certain, and by the time I was, I couldn't intervene.

All of that is more than understandable. I think I would have felt the same way. There is a pond near me. Every year the ducks hatch the eggs but every time the number drops as the weeks go by. We are fairly sure the foxes have them. It's sad but that is just the way it is in the wild. I think you will just have to let the guilt go, you did an awful lot more than plenty of others might have done. I tend to feel that if it was meant to be you would have found them when you went back.
 
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noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
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I just felt bad because an hour later, I found them crossing the street a block away- and it was right about then that they ran under the fence :(
But I agree-- I did try...and I didn't mess anything up by doing so because I didn't manage to do anything lol

Just wish it had been a kinder situation
 

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