ducks in the water

I came downstairs for breakfast and learned that there was a duck in our pool. This didn’t surprise me since I had seen a lone duck in the backyard a few weeks ago but what did surprise me was that she had ducklings with her. Ten little fuzzy ducklings swam after their mama duck round and round the pool. We realized after a little bit that while the mama duck jumped in and out of the pool just fine that the baby ducklings were too little to hop out.

I surfed the Internet and learned that ducklings don’t have the same waterproofing on their feathers and that they can drown. At first, we tried to set up a ramp for the ducks but none of our attempts were stable. So we turned over a bucket underwater, set it on the pool steps, and placed a round paving stone on top to steady it and act as a platform. It took the ducks awhile to figure it out or maybe mama duck didn’t trust what we had put out – the ducklings swam in a tight formation around her at the far end of the pool while we set up the platform – but after we gave them a little space, the ducklings led their mama to the bucket and hopped on to the paver to get a little reprieve from swimming. It took them a little while longer to figure out that they can hop from the paving stone and out of the pool.

Our two year old daughter wanted to bring the ducks in to our house, but we explained to her that ducks like water and sky and that they would not like to be inside the house where they would not be able see the sky. She eventually accepted this and also understood that the ducklings needed to find a way out of the pool. She tried to help set up a ramp for the ducks.  When the ducklings finally figured out they could jump out of the pool, she cheered them on – from inside the house – yelling “hurray! hurray!”

So, now the ducks know they can get out of the water, but they haven’t figured out that they can walk around the pool to their nest, which we figure is hidden in the bushes in the back corner on the other side of the fence. Maybe, we thought, they’ve decided to swim for the day because it has been a hot day and the pool is in direct sun. The ducklings hopped in and out of the pool, but never all at once and eventually, the ones who hop out, hop back into the pool. But when we got back at dinner time from an afternoon party, we found the mama duck huddling by the pool, her babies beneath her where you can barely see them, right in front of the platform we set up. It looks like they’re spending the night there and I worry about the poor mama duck out in the open, huddled in the cold, trying to keep her babies warm.

Why won’t they walk the few feet back to their nest?

There seems to be a specific spot where the mama duck wants to get out of the pool to lead her ducklings back into the bushes, but the water is deep there so we can’t set up the platform there. My husband set up a ramp in that spot but the ducklings don’t seem interested in using it.

I guess tomorrow we find a wildlife rescue organization so we can get advice on what to do next.


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