Name: Carol Lietz
We had a female duck nesting in our bush, and she finally had
her babies. She took them all down to our lake in our yard. 3 Male ducks
have been bothering her and chasing her and mounting her. She gets upset
and can not be with her babies, they all hide and when they come out,
they all are getting chased back into the weeds. I am so sad and wonder
if they will ever be able to come out and learn how to fend for
themselves or if they will be hurt or killed by these mean male ducks.
Does this all seem normal or common to you?
As hard as it sometimes is for us, we should not judge animal behavior from
a human behavior standard - "mean" and "rude" are not qualities we should
ascribe to ducks. The behavior you observe is not all that unusual, and I
expect that the duckling family will come out all right. If not, it is also
a harsh fact of life in nature that many, or most, young do not survive.
Most of the time we do not see those results, and it can be very difficult
for us when we do. Aside from all that, there is nothing you could do to
help. I hope you can watch the ducks without becoming too upset.
Sorry, yes, it sounds pretty normal. Male mallards are not very nice, by
our standards. Pretty much all they are interested in is impregnating
female ducks (mallards or not), and they certainly aren't interested in
protecting young that aren't theirs.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Wyoming
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Update: June 2012