INTRO-DUCK-TION TO DUCK SPOTTING
You’ve discovered some of our native ducks and now you’d like to see how many you can spot. Great! But before you do there are some things to keep in mind.
Here are our simple tips for spotting ducks in a respectful, duck-friendly way.
RESPECT DUCKS’ NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
We think ducks are incredible and want you to discover as many as you can. But it is important to remember that they live in complex wetland ecosystems that can be easily disturbed.
When visiting remote wetlands, it is important to do your homework before you travel. By knowing about the wetland you’re visiting and what facilities are available you can learn how to minimise your impact on the local plants and animals that call it home. Remember to observe any local signage and regulations to make sure you’re keeping to designated walking tracks and roads. If you’re heading to wetlands with water bottles and food, remember to take your rubbish home with you to keep the wetland environments healthy.
You can find out more about protecting ducks and their wetland homes here.
NEVER FEED DUCKS HUMAN FOOD
Heading to the local lake or pond to share leftover bread with ducks is probably something most of us have done at least once in our lives. But what a lot of us don’t realise is that feeding ducks human food can lead to a range of problems.
Feeding ducks food such as bread and biscuits can cause nutritional imbalances and is the equivalent of feeding ducks junk food. Remember, ducks feed on plants and insects – human food is definitely not a part of their diet.
A lot of the time, ducks won’t eat the human food that is left for them. But this can cause other problems, including pollution and disease. Bread that ducks don’t consume can sink and cause nutrient pollution and eventually increase the bacteria in soil. These sorts of conditions can make birds sick, particularly if water levels are low and they ingest soil and mud when foraging for food.
It is also important that ducks don’t become dependent on humans for food. Ducks such as the Pacific Black Duck learn to associate people with food and have been known to become a little aggressive if they get too used to being fed.
So, when you head out to Discover Ducks in your local area leave the bread and biscuits at home and always read signage in your local area that provides information on feeding wild animals.
KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEAD
If you venture out to spot ducks while you’re on your daily walk, you may like to take your four-legged friend with you. If you do, it is always important to keep your dog on lead when you are around ducks, as well as any native wildlife.
Being chased by larger animals such as dogs can lead to significant distress for native ducks. In addition, if a dog did catch a duck, they could possibly do some unintentional damage. This is not something any of us want while we’re out discovering these wonderful birds.
Always remember to abide by your local council’s leashing requirements and keep your dog on the lead, unless in a designated off-lead area and especially around native ducks.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE WHEN SPOTTING DUCKS
Seeing ducks in their natural environment- especially rarer species – is what Discover Ducks is all about. But many ducks, such as the Blue-billed Duck, are shy and can be easily startled by humans.
When viewing ducks, it is important to keep the noise to a minimum. Be sure to not make any loud noises that will frighten them and speak softly.
We must also respect ducks’ personal space by not getting too close. Some ducks, such as Wood Ducks, like to frequent grassy areas and may come near people. But it is still important not to get too close to them, including making sure small children don’t chase ducks. You should also never try to touch native ducks. This can not only cause significant suffering and distress to ducks, but also pose risks to humans as ducks can carry diseases. Instead, sit quietly and observe native ducks, see what they feed on and what they are doing and don’t forget to record your duck sightings on our interactive map.
By keeping your distance, discovering ducks can be enjoyable for you and for our native ducks.