The Living Desert
Home  >  Animals  >  Wildlife Rehabilitation  >  Waterfowl

Waterfowl

The Living Desert accepts injured and orphaned native and migratory waterfowl. This includes shorebirds, and seabirds. Unfortunately, we do not take in ducks or geese.

The Living Desert does not accept domestic or exotic waterfowl.

If you need help identifying a bird, click here or call The Living Desert Wildlife Rehabilitation line at 760-568-2330.

If you find a bird that is injured, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

How to identify injured waterfowl
. Bleeding
. Animal attack
. Lethargic/not standing up/leaning
. Vertigo-like symptoms
. One wing is being held lower than the other
. Severe limping (the bird cannot walk)
. Cannot walk  **some species cannot walk at all**

How to contain injured waterfowl
**Do NOT attempt to catch waterfowl that seems dangerous or defensive. Call The Living Desert Wildlife Rehabilitation line at 760-568-2330 for instructions on containing a bird that you do not feel safe catching.** Waterfowl, especially seabirds can be dangerous, some have razor sharp beaks used for stabbing fish out of the water.

. Obtain a large box with air holes.
. Line the box with a towel- if the bird cannot stand, place another towel rolled or folded to provide chest support
. Wear the thickest gloves you can find, safety glasses (plastic), and carry a thick towel.
. Throw the towel over the bird’s head and body, keeping the bird’s head turned away from you
. Place the bird in the box, secure the box shut
. Keep the bird in a warm, dark, quiet, dry place
. Transport the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately

Food/Water:
Do not offer the bird food or water. If you have to house the bird overnight, place a shallow dish of water in the box with the animal. Keep the bird dry. Transport the bird to an animal rehabilitator immediately the next day.

If you find orphaned waterfowl – test to see if the chick is a true orphan
You may not see the parents as they may be hiding from you. To them, you are a large predator and it is not safe for them to expose themselves to you. If the chicks are not true orphans, it is in the birds’ best interest to leave them alone.

Hide as far away from the chick as possible, and watch for at least 1 hour. It is important to stay far away (indoors watching from a window is best) and maintain a visual the entire time. If you see the parents approach the chick during this time, it is not an orphan. If the bird is still without a parent after an hour, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

Ducks stuck in your swimming pool
Occasionally, you may find a duck or ducklings in your pool. If they cannot get out, it is important to assist these birds as they could get exhausted, stressed and eventually die.

To help ducks out of a pool, place a wide, rough piece of wood into the pool to make a ramp. The ducks can use the ramp to climb out of the pool. The roughness of the wood will give them traction. If you don’t have a wide board, try a large piece of Styrofoam with a wet towel on top for traction.

Relocating Ducks/Duck Eggs
It is illegal to move duck eggs in California. If ducklings are in a safe confined area, with some grass, leave them alone until they can fly out. If they are in a dangerous area follow these instructions to relocate the family:

. Obtain a pet carrier
. Line the carrier with a towel
. Catch the ducklings and place them in the carrier
. Allow the mother to see the ducklings in the carrier
. Pick up the carrier and walk slowly to wherever you are relocating the duck family; the mother will follow you.
. Release the ducklings from the carrier.
. We do NOT take in ducks and/or geese

Regulatory agencies and laws:
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/

http://pacificflyway.gov/Regulations.asp

Other laws protecting ducks and geese: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/wildlife_damage/content/printable_version/fs_waterfowl.pdf

General information about some native birds you can see at The Living Desert:
http://www.livingdesert.org/animal-category/north-american-birds/

Migratory map- Pacific Flyway
http://pacificflyway.gov/Documents/Pacific_map.pdf

<< Back to Rehabilitation Page
Zoo News