The Mallard Duck is one we all know! The male standing proud with a stunning deep green head and the female with beautiful dark and light brown rippling down the whole body.
It is very difficult to walk past any mass of freshwater in the UK without seeing at least one Mallard duck preening its feathers or following close behind you to see if you have any bread!
The Mallard Duck is an omnivore, eating anything from seeds to insects and even small fish if they can catch them. The average size of a fully grown Mallard is 20-26 Inches.
The Mallard may be seen in the UK all year round however some of them do in fact migrate, Mallards that nest in Iceland will fly down to the UK over winter and then take the long journey back to their nesting area. The Mallards that nest in the UK don’t have the need to migrate as they can sustain themselves in the temperatures of a wintry UK.
This is another creature I am pleased to say is of least concern when it comes to endangerment, this is no surprise for those who see mallards on a regular basis on their walk to work or through the parks in the UK.
There is a dark side to the thriving population of Mallards. In a lot of area’s people will go down and feed the ducks in some places this can happen on a very regular basis all throughout the year. This leads to the ponds being over populated and in the higher feeding area’s it can leave a lot of single male Mallards looking for a mate! This has devastating effects on the single females still looking for a mate, It causes a pile up of male ducks all fighting and piling themselves on top of the female this can and has caused fatal injuries to the females and even in most cases simply drowns the poor bird.
This is due to all the single males waiting around on the area’s where people feed the birds the most.
And sadly that is not the only devastating effect on natural life when humans and Mallards are involved.
We love feeding them so much that we end up over feeding them, with the wrong stuff and still too much!
We like to feed them bread as it is something that floats in the water allowing you to see the ducks nibbling on it but bread unfortunately gives no nutritional value and can lead to malnutrition in the Duck.
And when the ducks want no more of course we still continue to chuck the bread in hoping they will return! But this is a very bad thing to do especially in ponds where no rivers run through keeping the water fresh. This causes a build up of rotting food at the bottom which then causes the water parameters to change and the fish that reside beneath end up suffocating in poison.
It is a very sad turn of events that starts form something so harmless.
One thing can be done to help prevent this happening in the future and of course you can still go down and feed the ducks at your local ponds and prevent such events that could lead to the downfall of Mallards and freshwater fish!
Mallards should be feeding on more natural things such as seeds, can be purchased from any pet shop or garden centre, they sink in the water so only throw a few at a time and make sure they catch them before you throw more in, or you can sprinkle them on the land and be a bit more patient until they come up and start feeding.
As little as it seems this could be vital for local waters and the life that resides inside, every ecosystem can have drastic effects on the next. in positive or negative ways.
Thank you for reading all this way! I really appreciate it! if you have any comments or opinions on the the Mallards effect on the earth please lets hear it!
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