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Old 04-28-2018, 03:58 PM
 
Location: on the wind
9,742 posts, read 4,337,668 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canudigit View Post
This is kind of what I thought, plus I wasn't sure what to do if they do hatch, as they need some kind of adult duck to guide them and feed them at first. My daughter used to work at a bird rescue sanctuary and she said that if babies get conditioned to humans then they cannot survive in the wild. This pertained to song birds, I'm not sure if it applies to ducks but I wouldn't want to take a chance. I didn't realize that disturbing the nest was a federal offense, glad we didn't do that!

We have never gotten close to the nest at all, just looked with binoculars from our deck so as not to disturb anything, but sadly, this morning three of the seven eggs are missing. There is a broken shell from one, but the other two are completely gone. My guess is that a hungry raccoon had his way with them, although I have also seen a small fox in our back yard from time to time, so who knows? It's sad, but at least it is part of the grand scheme of nature and some human didn't interfere and destroy them, that would have been much worse.
Ducklings will imprint to you if you hatch them. Imprinting serves as a survival tactic especially for ground nesting precocial (birds that are able to feed themselves or run shortly after hatching) birds. They will relentlessly follow whatever creature they first see upon hatching, so it keeps them together and close to mom while on the move. It can be extremely difficult to release them to the wild...they don't know they are ducks and may never assimilate to a wild flock when they need to. Unless you know exactly what you are doing (and, BTW have the proper permits) it can be inhumane to try.

Disturbing a nest deliberately is the offense according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as well as state laws. You stumbled on it by accident. It happens. No one is going to prosecute you for that. It would be illegal to take possession of the eggs and/or any ducklings. A licensed rehabilitator could raise them, not some private person with a box in their garage!
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:58 PM
 
13,025 posts, read 6,007,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
Ducklings will imprint to you if you hatch them. Imprinting serves as a survival tactic especially for ground nesting precocial (birds that are able to feed themselves or run shortly after hatching) birds. They will relentlessly follow whatever creature they first see upon hatching, so it keeps them together and close to mom while on the move. It can be extremely difficult to release them to the wild...they don't know they are ducks and may never assimilate to a wild flock when they need to. Unless you know exactly what you are doing (and, BTW have the proper permits) it can be inhumane to try.

Disturbing a nest deliberately is the offense according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as well as state laws. You stumbled on it by accident. It happens. No one is going to prosecute you for that. It would be illegal to take possession of the eggs and/or any ducklings. A licensed rehabilitator could raise them, not some private person with a box in their garage!
Exactly, you will have a damned hard time trying to be mother to the chicks. They need to learn how to live in the wild which is what their mother would teach them as well as protect them the best she can. Leave the eggs alone. If she doesn't come back, she'll probably nest again in another location. Please do not attempt to incubate them.
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Pure Michigan!
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We have not gotten near the nest or disturbed the eggs in any way and do not plan to. Even if I thought it was a good idea to try to incubate and hatch the eggs (I don't), I don't have the equipment, time, or desire to try to raise wild baby ducklings only to have it completely ruin their chance of survival in the wild.

I do wish that the mother duck had come back, but she hasn't that I can tell, and four of the eggs still lie undisturbed in the nest. I haven't even seen the mother or any other mallards on nearby bodies of water, so she seems to be gone from this nest for good. It's too bad, but I guess that's just nature.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to reply, I have learned a lot from your posts.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:46 AM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
10,379 posts, read 3,582,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canudigit View Post
Earlier today when I put my small dog outside she went underneath one of our pine trees and much to my surprise, flushed out a female mallard duck who had been sitting on a nest of seven eggs. The nest is very well hidden and I had no idea it was there or I would have put my dog out in a different area so that she wouldn't have disturbed the mother duck but it was too late. The duck flew away and now, almost four hours later, she still isn't back.

I know nothing about the nesting habits of mallard ducks so does anyone know if a.) the mother duck will come back and b.) if she comes back after all these hours will the eggs still hatch since she hasn't been sitting on them for this time? It is in the low 60s here today so at least it isn't really cold but I will feel terrible if my dog scaring off this mother duck will cause all of these babies to die and not hatch!

How long the embryos in incubated eggs will stay alive in a situation like this, would depend a lot on the temperature of the air. But usually, four hours without the mother giving them her warmth, would be fatal. However, if there's only 7 eggs, that could indicate that she isn't through laying yet and there may be more to come. They usually lay about 10 to 12 eggs. If that's the case, they wouldn't have been incubated yet and could still be viable. She may have just laid a new one or was about to do that, when she was flushed.

This is a reason to never let dogs run loose during the spring, if they are in a place where ground-nesting birds might be. Even if the mother bird escapes, she may not return to the nest, if a dog flushes her. Secrecy is a nesting bird's only protection and if that is lost, she may choose to start a new nest, somewhere else.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:12 AM
 
13,051 posts, read 16,133,723 times
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Originally Posted by Bear Foot View Post
That's a poor way to try to hatch eggs, and disturbing a wild duck's nest to take the eggs is a Federal offense.

The best thing to do is do nothing at all and stay away from the nest for the next 3-4 weeks.
The dog disturbed the nest already (be it a federal offence or not)...none of the eggs will hatch if left where they are.
As another poster said, they'll become food for another critter.
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