Duck Couple


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Every year for the past three years a mallard male returns to the area around spring. He stops by my little water feature, hangs out in the neighborhood for a couple weeks with his girlfriend, and then I don't see him again until the next year.

This year, my larger pond is finished, and he and his lady friend have been visiting a lot. They poop and incredibly amount, and rip up my new lily pads. The pond is shy of 1000 gallons, and has only female goldfish, as well as a breeding population of red rosies.

First, I'm concerned about the bioload these visitors are putting on my pond. I'm not sure how to account for it.

Secondly, I'm concerned about them eating and ripping up my plants.

Third, the dinguses have started to lay eggs right next to my back l favorite shaded observation spot!

Fourth, when the eggs hatch, I'm worried there's not enough food in my pond to support the family. The parents could obviously relocate to feed themselves, but it seems risky for baby ducks to travel far.

Fifth, last year the male's lady friend was decapitated in the middle of the night by a raccoon. I found her body in the water. I don't want to find another dead duck in my yard again, it was incredibly depressing.

So. How can I beef up filtration for my pond, provide good food options, and create raccoon security for my new backyard guests? What else should I be considering? Is there a way I can prevent this from happening again next year so that I don't have to worry about any of this?

Thank you all so much for any help! ❤
 
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Honestly, my suggestion is to chase them off. Like you said, they are dirty and destructive and don't really belong in a small backyard pond. I have a pair that shows up every spring too and we just keep chasing them away. We had an experience one year with a parasite that killed several dozen of our goldfish that we believe was introduced to the pond by the ducks - not interested in repeating that experience!

That's my best advice - your pond is for your fish, not for the ducks. They can find a more suitable location. And if you let them stay this year you can be guaranteed they will be back next year.
 
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It's illegal to mess with migratory bird nests, at least in the United States, and that includes mallard ducks. It may be illegal to mess with the birds as well.

Even if it weren't, though, that's not my style. Humans have asked nature and the world to pay such a stiff bill for our lifestyle. The least I can do is accept the inconvenience of repairing the destruction of the birds, and compensating the bioload, and let them do as they please. As for the parasite issue you mentioned, the same risk exists with every wild animal that stops by.
 
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Okey dokey. You asked - I answered. If you really believe you are obligated to allow those birds to nest in your yard, swim in your pond and make themselves at home, then have at It. Personally I built my pond for me and my fish.

Here's some information you might find helpful - here's the source: https://www.fws.gov/nevada/las_vegas/documents/ducks-pool-fact-sheet.pdf

What to do to discourage nesting and swimming in pools:
• When you see a pair of ducks, or a female quacking often, they may be searching for a nest site. If you do not want the ducks to nest in your yard, chase the ducks away when you see them spending their early evening in the yard.
• If you have a dog, allow it to patrol the yard before the ducks build a nest to help keep the birds away.
• If you find an inactive nest (an empty nest with no eggs), you may destroy it. You may need to do this often as they may attempt to re-establish a nest. It is prohibited to purposely destroy a nest with eggs inside.
 
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Just to clarify, would you mind pointing out which question I asked you were answering?
 
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Here's the thing. I like the ducks. You obviously don't like yours.

I included a lot of clues in my post that show that I like the ducks. That I'm concerned about their well being. That I didn't like finding one dead last year. I even gave them a playful pet name of dingus.

Last year after the male lost his female, I sat on the grass with him crying while he called out for her. This animal is my friend and I do not want to hurt him or his mate.

You talk about me "believing I'm obligated" as though it's the only explanation. But it's not. I've got a special relationship with this duck even though I do not own him. I care about him just like I do my fish and my plants and my recreational persists.

So I didn't like your advice. You don't have to agree with me. You can think I'm a bleeding heart impractical loser for all I care. Regardless, I'm looking for advice that respects the relationship I have with these animals--not advice that violates it.
 
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I didn't say I was answering your question - I clarified your contention that it was "illegal to mess" with the the ducks by chasing them off my pond. It's not. It never will be. Saying they can "do as they please" with your pond sounds to me like you are obligated to allow them to destroy what you have created. But that's totally your choice. And you did ask "is there a way to prevent this from happening next year?" Yes indeed there is. By not letting it happen this year. There's some helpful advice for you, straight from the Fish and Wildlife Service.

I just wonder how you chose between the ducks and the raccoons? Have we not asked the raccoons to "pay a stiff bill" for our lifestyle? Are you not asking for ways to deny that raccoon access to your pond and those delicious ducks? The raccoons are just doing what nature intends for them to do and you're inserting yourself into the "special relationship" they have with those ducks - which we might call "dinner".

From the beginning of time ducks have figured out how to survive without our help. Do some die along the way? Of course - that's all part of nature's plan. But carry on believing in your omnipotent ability to change the course of nature.
 
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Thank you for your suggestions and advice. I'm sure some people who visit this thread will find it helpful for their situation.
 

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