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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Help...There's a Duck Nest in My Flower Pot!

But the Nest is in the Middle of My Driveway...

This is a somewhat sticky subject. All wild waterfowl species are protected under the North American Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Technically, you could open yourself to prosecution if you deliberately destroy an unwanted nest.

If the nest is in an impossible location and you really can't live with it, your safest recourse is to simply carry out your daily affairs as though the duck wasn't there. Most hens will get the hint and go find a more secure nest site. Remove and discard the nest after you are sure that it is abandoned. Some hens, of course, are probably so acclimated to mankind that they will stick it out. If so, then perhaps the location wasn't really "impossible." Trying to move the nest to a more suitable location seldom works. Ducks rely on visual cues to return to their nest. If you move it, they have little chance of finding it. On the other hand, you probably should remove the nest from the barbecue before you light the charcoal...

But, by all means, do the bird a favor. Make your decision early in the process. Don't wait until Ma has invested a lot of time and critical nutrient reserves in the nest before you decide that she has got to go. If she is run out of Dodge early enough, she will still have time to renest and bring off a successful brood elsewhere.

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