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I see a duck on a nest in a dangerous area, can I move them?

Ducks are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. They cannot not be removed or harmed unless given special permission by the United States Fish and Wildlife Department.

Ducks will nest in areas that can be dangerous once the eggs hatch. The best course of action would be to mildly harass mom so she does not choose an unsuitable location to build her nest. Mylar streamers, motion detecting noise makers/sprinklers, and decoys that mimic animals that prey on ducks can be used to deter them from a particular location. Action should also be taken to make the possible nest location less inviting by cutting grass and weeds low to the ground as well as covering plant beds with river stones.

If the mother lays eggs in a dangerous location and they have not hatched contact City Wildlife and inform their “Duck Watch” program of the location. If the eggs have hatched and the chicks and mom are in a dangerous situation, call Humane Rescue Alliance at 202-723-5730.

If the duck leads her babies to water such as a pond, pool or fountain that the babies are unable to get out of, a ramp can be provided to assist the babies in getting in and out of the water. “Islands” should also be placed in the water in order to give the babies a place to rest. If the body of water they are stuck in is a pool, or private fountain, the water level an be raised in order to allow an exit for the ducklings.

To keep the ducks from returning, a predator decoy, a windup bath toy, a float shaped like a crocodile or alligator in addition to changing the ground cover will discourage the duck from nesting in the area. Deterrents should be moved frequently to ensure ducks do not test the decoy and discover it is not an actual threat.

Immediately call Humane Rescue Alliance if you see:

  • Ducklings near a sewer or in a sewer.
  • A duck or other fowl with fishing gear tangled around them, it appears to have swallowed gear or is pierced by a fishing hook.
  • Ducklings on a building top.


If a wild animal is in need, danger or you believe it is rabid, immediately call us at 202-723-5730.

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