Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Did the Mallard Ducks Eat My Koi & Goldfish?
A customer from Aquatic Connections emailed me the following question when she discovered that the fish in her pond were missing: We had quite a few fish in our pond, however, I was leaving for work one morning and noticed we had ducks on our pool cover. Do you believe the ducks probably noticed the pond and went fishing? If so they ate many of our gold fish and koi.
This was my reply. Every March & April we have a pair of mallard ducks show up in our backyard. If there is water on our pool cover, they like to hang out there. I usually send the dog out to scare them away. The cover is messy enough with all the leaves and debris, I don't need the ducks adding to the muck.
Sometimes they decide to swim in our pond. It's always a male and a female mallard and I often wondered if they would ever nest in yard. Anyway, they just swim around and bask in the sun until I send out our dog. Over the last five years they have visited our pond, I have never seen them eat any of our koi or goldfish.
So I did a little research on the food preferences of mallards and this is what I found out (courtesy of CentralPets.com):
Not overly disturbed by human activity, Mallard Ducks are often seen in canals, lakes, ponds, and urban parks. They seem to be able to adapt well to nearly anywhere with a body of freshwater and an appropriate climate. Mallard Ducks are migratory, spending winters in more southern regions and summering in northerly parts of their range. In warmer areas of the world, some Mallard Ducks may not migrate. In the fall and winter, they pair into mated couples. Although females quack, males do not; rather, they communicate with whistling or grunting noises. Mallard Ducks spend most of their time foraging for food. They eat a number of items including insects, fish eggs, small fish, tadpoles, wild rice, berries, leaves, green plant shoots, and grain. Most of this food is acquired from foraging in muddy areas in or near the water and embankment of the Mallard Duck's home. The Mallard Duck uses its bill to filter food from the mud.
I think most koi and goldfish would be too large for the ducks to eat. Something else may have eaten this customer's fish. My guess would be a heron. If you have had a similar experience with ducks or herons or disappearing fish, please post your comment for us to read. Thanks.
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Posted by Aquatic Connections at 5:32 PM