So, back in March a mama Muscovy showed up with 14 ducklings in the pond across the street. These ponds are retention ponds so they are not dependable in terms of water level. The worst case scenario happened and it dried up. Many of us in the neighborhood were concerned and began supplementing their diet. One neighborhood even walked them down the street and allowed them in his pool.
Eventually the rainy season came and they returned to the pond sometime in May. They had grown quite a lot but were still pretty dependent on their mom for guidance. We don't know what happened but she left. The ducklings were not sure what to do! They would walk up to people seemingly hungry so we, including me, fed them. We worried about them each time the pond dried up but luckily if will rain again. They were probably a month behind in flying at this time.
The neighbor who allowed them in his pool informed me that mama had been back in his yard for a bit and had come with a male. She also stopped by the pond daily for a few minutes but did not interact with her brood. Not sure they even recognized her any more.
Now she's back but with 8 - 12 teeny babies. The pond has water but the sun has created a bloom on it which looks like slime. The older ducks are not swimming in but the openings seem to be plenty big for the new babies to swim. Sometimes there are large openings in the slime and Thursday a couple of the ducks did fly (yes, most have been flying about a month but they stay in the neighborhood and live at the pond still) into the pond and it looked like they were giving the new chicks a hard time. Mama moved the ducklings to the pond at the front of our neighborhood. Sadly, that one goes dry even quicker but it's shaded so it doesn't have the slimy growth on top.
All this to say I am concerned. They depended on human intervention and they appear to be making out neighborhood ponds a permanent home..The ponds are not dependable, 14 residents seems a bit crowded, and now there are 12 more that may choose to stay here as well. The saddest part of this story is that is one with a broken wing. It's been that way since they were pretty young. He has the most personality and is the friendliest. I call him "Broke Wing" but the neighbor who let him in the pool calls him "Handsome".
Lessons learned by all of us is not to feed wild animals but it is hard to ignore animals in distress and allow nature to take it's course. Muscovy are considered a nuisance and are not Native so there's no help from state/county/city. They are not protected and it's not illegal to kill them. In fact, some folks raise them for food. In a restaurant they are called "Barbary Duck".
I really thought they were all going ot fly off and we would be left with Broke Wing; however, that did not happen. They have stayed in their pack of 14 and really don't seem to know what to do. From what I have read, their parents weren't there at the time they needed them to teach them to forage and fly off. Although they don't migrate, they should have dispersed a bit.
I believe this was late March
I believe late May
The "new" brood