What ado about waterfowl?
Duck nests should be eradicated as soon as they are discovered. Try not to let them nest in the first place. For a week or more in the early evenings, a duck pair will search for a place to nest. The female is more persistent and will quack often. Encourage homeowners to shoo the birds away if they are found wandering around the backyard in the evening. The nest can be located in a variety of places including under bushes or shrubs, in a garden, tall grass or open field. The nest starts out as a few scrapes in the ground.
There are several things you can do to prevent duck nests:
• Net or cage plants to prevent nesting. (Ducks begin nesting in the spring but can nest all summer long.)
• Install spikes or other deterrents under plants that might be attractive for nests.
• Cut back plants so that they do not provide enough cover for a nest.
• Gently disturb the mother duck if she seems to be looking for a place to nest. Do not touch her, but rather approach her quietly until she flies away. Do this repeatedly each time she lands.
• Apply methyl anthranilate as a repellent. Methyl anthranilate is a harmless chemical related to grape juice that has been proven effective in repelling ducks when fogged every three weeks around nesting areas. “Liquid Fence” is one commercially available product that contains methyl anthranilate. Two disadvantage of methyl anthranilate are that it smells strongly of grape juice and washes off with the rain.
It may sound mean, but if any nests are found, they should be torn up immediately. It may be necessary to do this often as they may attempt to reestablish a nest. It is a violation of the Migratory Bird Act to purposely destroy a nest with eggs inside. Active nests with eggs or chicks may not be purposely touched or destroyed without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Inactive (empty) nests do not require a permit to destroy, provided no possession occurs during or after the destruction.
Add a surfactant to the water. Surfactants such as Jack’s Magic Surface Magic, or Duck Off – a product made specifically to ward off water fowl - work by breaking the surface tension of the water. This makes swimming in the pool uncomfortable for the ducks. They may land in the water, but aren’t as likely to stay long. Consistent use is necessary so that habitation is discouraged. This might be a last resort for some pool owners, however, who don’t want to add more chemicals to their pools than absolutely necessary.
Some people have reported success with enzymes, such as Orenda CV 600. The premise is that the enzymes break down the oils in the birds’ feathers so that they cannot float as well.
Keep the pool well maintained and without leaves or debris that may encourage nesting. That goes for the pool area as well. A lot of leaves and debris attract waterfowl.
Leave a gate open to make it easy for the ducks to exit the enclosed area. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service one may calmly escort the ducks out of the enclosed area, but may not trap or pick them up without a permit.
If there is a dog, use it to discourage habitation. Dogs are natural predators for ducks and geese. And they scare easily. Just seeing the dog may be enough to discourage landing in the pool. Its worth mentioning that using a cat for this purpose is not the same. Cats are stealthy and tend to be soundless, sneaking up on the ducks to kill them. We don’t want to kill the birds – just scare them away.
Ducks can sometimes be driven off by harassment, by clapping loudly or banging pots and pans together. This disturbance has to be repeated frequently before the ducks will give up and leave for good. If it is determined that there is a nest in the vicinity, do not harass the birds as this will likely cause the female to abandon her eggs.
If nesting does occur and ducklings are born, the mother will likely plan to stay at the pool for at least 8 weeks until the ducklings can fly.
The primary goal is to keep the family together, mother and ducklings. If there is a natural waterway nearby, they can sometimes be herded from the pool area and redirected to the waterway. Other times, the ducklings and their mother must be captured and relocated to a better location. This should be done by a professional animal control officer or other permitted specialist.
If there are ducklings in the pool, provide a makeshift ramp to allow the ducklings to get out. Use any surface that is not too slippery for the duckling’s
Photo Credit Ducks In My Pool Ducks In Jos’s Pool ducksinmypool.blogspot.com feet, to help them walk out of the pool. Ducklings are not able to fly out of the water, nor can they step out from the pool’s tall ledge. The ducklings may drown if they become exhausted.
Try using decoys. Many people report success using floating pool toys for when the pool is not in use. But not just any toys. Get some that look like predators such as alligators, dolphins, sharks or snakes. Life-size scarecrow swans can be very useful deterrents because real swans are often aggressive with ducks. Better yet, find an alligator decoy that is designed to keep unwanted guests out of koi ponds because they tend to be more realistic. Many users have reported the Aquascape model, which features hinged sections that allow a natural looking movement, adds quite a bit to the decoys value as a deterrent.
Motion activated sprinklers are also useful for scaring off ducks and geese. When the sensor detects motion, it sends a burst of water in the direction its aimed.
An automatic pool cleaner of any sort may do the trick. Automatic pool cleaners mimic predators, and ducks are easily frightened, so installing an automatic pool cleaner that pops up every now and then might do the job. The swirling movements of the cleaner and sporadic breaching can be enough to startle the ducks away.
Buying an ultrasonic pet repellant could ward off waterfowl, and have the added benefit of discouraging other small animals from living around the pool area. These machines are relatively inexpensive and work by emitting high frequency sounds that humans cannot hear.
Some homeowners have had success stringing a white clothes line about 5 feet above the pool, and hanging CDs from the line. The horizontal lines confuse the birds, and the reflective nature of the CDs is an added dimension.
Any type of cover will probably work to deter the birds from nesting, but it might as well be a solar cover that also helps heat the water. The right cover will prevent them from getting in the water. Ensure that it fits well to prevent them from becoming trapped beneath the cover.
Purchase Mylar streamers, which are available in the crepe paper section at most party stores. Place three-foot high stakes in the ground at each corner of the pool, then stretch the Mylar from stake to stake across the pool to form an “X.” The flashing, uneven movement of the streamers normally frightens the birds away.
Don’t use fishing line or bird netting. Some people have reported success with running these products above the pool in a crisscross pattern to provide an overhead barrier.
However, because it is transparent or difficult to see, when a bird lands on it, it can become tangled and unable to fly. It could end up injuring itself or worse, drowning in the pool.