Project Wildlife Animals: Ducks
What to do if you find:

Adult Ducks
For advice on injured or sick adult ducks, follow the same guidelines in the sea/shore bird section.

Baby Ducks
If you have rescued orphaned ducklings, they will need immediate care from a licensed rehabilitator who will raise them to be wild and return them to their environment when they are ready.

Because they are usually kept very warm (under Mother) when they are tiny chicks, the ducklings need to be placed in a warm, safe environment while they await transport and care at a facility. This can be accomplished simply by placing the chicks in a tall cardboard box with a 60 watt light bulb overhead and newspapers on the floor.

Do not allow baby ducklings to swim.  Please make sure they stay as dry as possible because they can quickly get hypothermic (chilled) and die.

Food & Water

To be safe, do not feed rescued ducklings, improper feeding methods can cause serious or even fatal problems. A shallow jar lid to water may be offered if the ducklings are active and alert. 

About Mallards

(the most common duck in San Diego)

  • Appearance of a generic duck with a patch of iridescent blue feathers on the wings
  • Males have iridescent green plumage on the head and back; females are brown
  • Found almost everywhere around the world
  • Prefer wetlands where there are plenty of invertebrates to feed on
  • Diet is not very restricted; eat vegetation, marine invertebrates, insects, and even grain from crops
  • Preyed upon by hawks, crows, ravens, turtles, raccoons, opossums, snakes, cats, and dogs
  • Usually live 7-9 years
  • Pairs form between October and March and the male leaves quickly after mating
  • Hens give birth more successfully as they become older
  • Clutch size ranges from 8-13
  • Mallards help the economy by providing a large industry for hunting in North America
  • Females can give a “quack” called the “hail call” that is heard for miles to bring other ducks to her
  • Nearly all domestic ducks descend from the mallard, although domestic ducks tend have larger bodies and shorter wings
Ducks in Pools

There are several ways to keep migrating ducks and ducks preparing to nest from taking up residence in your pool or backyard.  Discouraging nesting and residency before they occur is easier than solving these problems once they have occurred.

  • Do not leave out food that the ducks might eat. This is the number one way to discourage the ducks from staying around your pool or backyard.
  • Brightly colored objects floating freely in the pool, such as a beach ball or other floating pool toys discourage ducks.
  • Cover the pool during migration – a few weeks during the fall.
  • Ducklings that have fallen into a pool will not be able to climb out with the steep pool edges. Help them climb out by improvising a ramp from the water to the pool edge.

The easiest ramp to build is made from a piece of styrofoam and a towel. Use a very large bath towel and the lid of a styrofoam cooler (available at most convenience stores). Wet the towel (to increase its weight) then float the styrofoam lid at the edge of the pool and drape half of the wet towel over the styrofoam lid. The other half of the towel should be draped over the edge of the pool. It can be weighted down with a brick if needed.

The styrofoam will serve as a floating dock that the ducklings can jump onto. The towel will allow them to make their way over the edge of the pool.


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Local Wildlife
Crows Crows Deer Deer Ducks Ducks
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Reptiles Reptiles Rodents Rodents Sea & Shore Birds Sea & Shore Birds
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Care Center

Wildlife Care Center
Custer Street
San Diego, CA 92110
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Open 7 days a week
(except Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day)
Staff/Volunteer hours: 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Drop-off area is open 24/7.

To speak to a representative during business hours 10am - 6pm, call 619-299-7012.
For after-hours emergencies, call your local police department or San Diego Humane Society's Humane Law Dispatch 619-243-3466.

Outside of San Diego County?
If you are outside of our geographical area, please visit the emergency page of Wildlife International or contact your local Department of Animal Control or state Fish and Game office.

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