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Question about feeding mallards close to house. (1 Viewer)

BobK_in_NH

New member
United States
Hi everyone, I'm a new member so if I violate any form rules please be gentle in your reprimands lol.
So we have a vernal pool about 20 yards from the back of the house that a pair of Mallards have recently taken residence near and swim and feed in every day. I'll have to Google it but I assume they're eating the peepers and other frogs which are a plenty in that pool. To give you an idea of the setting which I think is important for my question, we live on roughly an acre and a half and beyond the lawn there are woods between our house and the neighboring houses. There are no dogs that run free in the area, we have deer that chomp on the vegetation around our house every night and morning, and we have a couple of bird feeders right outside the kitchen bay window in the back. Twice, I have seen the male flying from across the street up the driveway and around the house back to the pond (wow, what a sight when you see them flying up close, for me anyway). Oh, also last year we started hearing what almost sounded like chimpanzee or a monkey sounds, which I guess are owls in the area.
So my question is, apparently ducks see red green blue and yellow more vibrantly than other colors, so I put a couple of strawberries on a blue rag close to the pond. A few hours later they were gone, I'm assuming the ducks took them. I thought I could slowly move the rag closer and closer to the back of the bay window, near the bird feeders, so eventually they'd be eating fairly close to the house.
My roommate objects to this strategy, saying we are "messing with nature". Beyond that they can't cite any actual perspective harm that might come to the ducks. My position is, that we already mess with nature in any number of ways, putting out suet and bird feeders, even building houses and encroaching on wildlife. I guess the only real danger I could see is the birds losing their fear of people in houses, but I have no intention of interacting with the birds or being anywhere near them outside.
Does anyone have any opinions on this? Is there a general rule or thought among the birding community about this?
I certainly do not want to harm the ducks in any way but I would love to see them up closer.
The attached picture looks confusing until you realize the female is directly behind the male. I'm sorry it's not a better picture, but I took the picture from inside with full zoom.
thx
BOb
 

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BobK_in_NH

New member
United States
Hi everyone, I'm a new member so if I violate any form rules please be gentle in your reprimands lol.
So we have a vernal pool about 20 yards from the back of the house that a pair of Mallards have recently taken residence near and swim and feed in every day. I'll have to Google it but I assume they're eating the peepers and other frogs which are a plenty in that pool. To give you an idea of the setting which I think is important for my question, we live on roughly an acre and a half and beyond the lawn there are woods between our house and the neighboring houses. There are no dogs that run free in the area, we have deer that chomp on the vegetation around our house every night and morning, and we have a couple of bird feeders right outside the kitchen bay window in the back. Twice, I have seen the male flying from across the street up the driveway and around the house back to the pond (wow, what a sight when you see them flying up close, for me anyway). Oh, also last year we started hearing what almost sounded like chimpanzee or a monkey sounds, which I guess are owls in the area.
So my question is, apparently ducks see red green blue and yellow more vibrantly than other colors, so I put a couple of strawberries on a blue rag close to the pond. A few hours later they were gone, I'm assuming the ducks took them. I thought I could slowly move the rag closer and closer to the back of the bay window, near the bird feeders, so eventually they'd be eating fairly close to the house.
My roommate objects to this strategy, saying we are "messing with nature". Beyond that they can't cite any actual perspective harm that might come to the ducks. My position is, that we already mess with nature in any number of ways, putting out suet and bird feeders, even building houses and encroaching on wildlife. I guess the only real danger I could see is the birds losing their fear of people in houses, but I have no intention of interacting with the birds or being anywhere near them outside.
Does anyone have any opinions on this? Is there a general rule or thought among the birding community about this?
I certainly do not want to harm the ducks in any way but I would love to see them up closer.
The attached picture looks confusing until you realize the female is directly behind the male. I'm sorry it's not a better picture, but I took the picture from inside with full zoom.
thx
BOb
Follow up: the question may be mood as I caught them wandering all over the lawn today.
 

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Tired

Well-known member
United States
Feeding birds in any context has to be done carefully. We don't want them to become dependent on us for food, or to approach humans looking for food. That said, feeding birds near one's house is generally not thought to make them less afraid of people in the wide world. It'll make them less afraid to approach windows with people behind, but that's no problem, as long as they're still scared of people outside.

Birds seem to have some concept of what a house is. The local doves that come to my feeder (near my window) largely ignore me when they see me through the glass, only glancing at me now and then, but those same doves still panic and flee if they see me anywhere remotely near them outside. They haven't gotten any less afraid of me being near them outside, just of me being near them inside.

It's probably best not to feed them immediately next to your house, mostly for smell reasons and to avoid scaring them by coming outside suddenly, but it should be fine to put some food out for them. Like any other non-predatory bird. You're interfering with nature a little, but not in a way that should hurt anything, assuming the foods are appropriate and in small amounts. Human interaction with nature is not an inherently harmful thing, and we are not an inherently destructive species.
(Though, do check your local laws; it's possible that there's some law meant to prevent waterfowl baiting for hunting purposes, that would apply here.)
 

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