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Wild duck - strange behaviour and not sure who to ask! (1 Viewer)

Julia_greenbay

New member
New Zealand
Hi everyone,

This is my first time here as I'm just not sure who to ask about this and so any guidance or info would greatly appreciated!

First, a bit of background. We live in West Auckland, New Zealand, in an area with plenty of wild ducks around the streets and they often venture onto our property. We have always enjoyed watching from afar and having them around. Last year we also had a regular pair of ducks visiting and a nest laid at the back of our property - we loved watching the ducklings grow up!

This year, we've had a female visiting regularly again, over the last few months. Although she could be the same duck that was here last year, it's hard to be certain.

Anyway, for the last couple of days there have been a few strange incidents- we've had her arriving at 6am (while it's still very dark as winter here) quacking loudly and when I went out onto our deck, she came up the stairs and right next to me. We've also seen her out on the lawn in the dark and on another day she was distress quacking and quivering/fluffing up her feathers when two other ducks flew into our garden. The quacking lasted about 45 minutes until they all flew away.

Three days ago we found a broken egg shell on our deck, in the same spot where she had approached me and then today another broken egg with bright yellow inside, again in the same vicinity. Both times these have been accompanied by plenty of explosive looking excrement (sorry not a pleasant visual!) on the deck. And the egg shells seem incredibly soft.

By the sounds of all of this, is there something wrong with her/is she unwell? And is there anything I could be doing to help her, without intervening with nature too much? Our local SPCA may be able to pick her up but I'm not sure if that's necessary or even possible.

As I said, any help greatly appreciated and thanks for reading this far!

Julia
 

Mike Crawley

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
Supporter
England
Julia,

I can’t help with your question but you live in one of my favourite places in the world, so I felt that I had to say "Welcome to Birdforum"
 

Kits

Picture Picker
Welcome to Birdforum.

I am wondering if the duck is laying unfertilised eggs. Maybe her diet is low in calcium hence the soft shells. I’m not sure what to suggest.
 

Julia_greenbay

New member
New Zealand
Thank you both for the warm welcome!

And Kits, after what I've been reading online, I agree that Calcium may be an issue.

She just seems so distressed overall, and like she's looking for help - coming right up onto our deck near our back door. Feeling sorry for her and helpless!

Thanks again,
Julia
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Hi Julie and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

If you think that it might be lack of calcium, you should be able to get poultry feed such as Layers Pellets (will possibly have different names). Early winter does seem a bit early for laying though, so I'm wondering if she's an escapee from a local farm? Or was a pet, as she appears so friendly.

If you could get a picture of her it might help with sorting her out

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news.
 

Julia_greenbay

New member
New Zealand
Thank you everyone for your comments and welcome so far.

I don't think she is an escapee or pet (although I can definitely understand why it may appear that way!) as there are so many ducks around the neighborhood. There's plenty of water nearby and in spring we see large groups of ducklings roaming the streets and resting on grass berms. Quite adorable!

However, am writing again now as it's nearly 11pm here and I've just caught the same duck on our back deck again, eating a freshly laid egg. She flew away when she saw my mother (who is here and unfamiliar to her). I wasn't able to get a photo of the duck but have included a photo of what she left behind (sorry, not a very pleasant picture).

It just seems like such unusual behavior - she has been laying eggs in the exact same spot three times now, all very close to our back door (maximum half a metre away)

I'm off to Google "ducks eating their own eggs" but also really appreciate any advice or insights here!!

Thanks again,
Julia
 

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Julia_greenbay

New member
New Zealand
Sorry also meant to say thank you Delia for the tip re bird feed for calcium. I'll have a look and see what I can find locally 🙂
Thank you everyone for your comments and welcome so far.

I don't think she is an escapee or pet (although I can definitely understand why it may appear that way!) as there are so many ducks around the neighborhood. There's plenty of water nearby and in spring we see large groups of ducklings roaming the streets and resting on grass berms. Quite adorable!

However, am writing again now as it's nearly 11pm here and I've just caught the same duck on our back deck again, eating a freshly laid egg. She flew away when she saw my mother (who is here and unfamiliar to her). I wasn't able to get a photo of the duck but have included a photo of what she left behind (sorry, not a very pleasant picture).

It just seems like such unusual behavior - she has been laying eggs in the exact same spot three times now, all very close to our back door (maximum half a metre away)

I'm off to Google "ducks eating their own eggs" but also really appreciate any advice or insights here!!

Thanks again,
Julia
 
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