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Can I help the ducks?

8 posts in this topic

Next fall I really want to complain "where are the ducks at?" So help me do something to help the ducks. whistle

Here are some pics. The ducks always spook before I can get a good picture.

May 18


June 28. a week earlier there was still 1" of water here.


October 25. As much as I pray, it never rains enough to re-fill the pond.


January 22, 2009


How can I improve this land for ducks? What should be my priorities?

The pond in the picture max's out at maybe 2 acres of surface water. The pics only capture a "bay" that is a tenth/quarter of an acre. It is a seasonal pond drying out by July 1st. There is also a little bit of grasslands in the area to work with. I have seen as many as a mix of 20 mallard and wood ducks feeding and resting here in the spring and into early summer. The neighbor has another pond that is very small, but does hold year-round water. One summer/fall there was a family of woodies and a family of teal using the neighbors pond. There is a river one mile away as the crow flies, with a very "ducky" looking area on the riverbottom. Currently no nest boxes on the property. No varmint control, and there is lots of varmints. Fatheads are not a problem. The land is located in farm country, corn and soybeans abound. Raising the dam is not an option, and digging a deeper area in the pond will likely never happen. I am not the owner of the land, and the owners are NOT interested in any govt programs. It is up to my arms, legs, back and wallet. No crop land is getting purposely flooded here.

Well, what can be done to help the ducks out on the land? What should be done NOW?


Where are the ducks at? madconfused

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looks like a good nesting area. Not all areas hold ducks year round obviously but these temporary spring ponds are great for nesting. I would definetely put up some woodie nesting boxes and make sure you have predator guards on them. Come fall if you dont trap, either take it up or ask someone who does to trap the area, most trappers love the opportunity to hit untrapped areas. Outside of that your kind of at the mercy of mother nature. Good luck.

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id take care of the varmints and put up nesting baskets or wood duck houses. as for the water iam not sure what you could do. if theres a way you could pump water in there i guess that would work but it would most likely get expense, i guess if comes down to how bad you want it to have water year around

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Great nesting yes, If you want to keep the water and improve your land. Call an excavator or your local soil and water. Maybe just a little dozing and a dam is all you need. doesn't hurt to ask

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cut it all down, plant rice and keep it flooded all season!


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I am willing to help the ducks here, even if I don't hunt ducks here. If I can help the ducks with out having year round water, than that is how I need to help the ducks. Raising the dam will flood neighboring property, and digging deeper the owner has talked about doing for years and it never gets done. It just wouldn't be right in this situation at this time for me get the pond dug deeper. So those two things aren't real options anytime soon. Would digging a smaller hole and using a trash-water pump in the summer/fall be a possibility? (electricity is 500 feet away) By giving the ducks year-round water here would I really be doing the ducks that much of a favor, or just be giving myself a hunting spot?

Adding nests has been a repeated suggestion. How many? How close to each other? Any boyscout troops out their selling wood duck houses? Should I put in a nesting platform for mallards? Should I really have nests in an spot that is dry by July 1st?

Without year-round water is their anything I can plant to benefit the ducks?


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Don't ruin a seasonal temporary wetland by digging it out. Appreciate it for what it is and don't try to make it something else. Ducks needs shift throughout the spring and throughout the year. They need these seasonal basins to get ready for nesting and during nesting season.

Because of their seasonal nature, these wetlands have explosions of life when they have water in them. They are usually the first to warm up in the spring to support this life and that is what ducks need at that time of year. They need protein for laying eggs and recouping energy from migration. If they nest and their nest fails, they need to regain all of that energy again and these seasonal wetlands is where they go.

If you dig it out, you run the risk of completely ruining the ecosystem of the wetland. Yes, ducks need water, but it's the living plants and organisms in the water that they need more.

Would you take all of the topsoil off a field and expect to grow good crops? Same is true in a wetland. If you dig it out, you're taking all of the nutrients away from the wetland. No nutrients means poor plant growth and less invertebrates. You could also 'break the seal' of the wetland by hitting a sand vein in the soil and effectively drain the whole thing.

Wetlands are seasonal for mainly one reason. The water in them evaporates or transpires faster than it gets added by precipitation. Not necessarily because they're not deep enough. Digging a deeper hole will usually not change the amount of water in a wetland, it will just change the concentration of it. Many large seasonal wetlands have been effectively drained by diggin cattle ponds or donut ponds. Doing this basically drains all of the water into one spot and dries up the rest of what used to be a temporary basin.

Quality spring water is much much much more valuable to a duck than water in the fall.

If there is more permanent water within 1/4 to 1/2 a mile, then adding one or two wood duck boxes is a great idea. The woodies will be able to take advantage of the seasonal wetland for energy and then they'll bring the brood to the more permanent water to finish their growth until they can fly.

Place the boxes on a pole with a predator guard. Start with one or two houses spaced on opposite ends of the pond. If you get both boxes used, then add another. Check out the wood duck society HSOforum. They have some good photos and info on houses. Lots of sportmans clubs or waterfowl chapters sell boxes at a discount.

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