[VIDEO] Owl snags one of my ducks

erkme73

Chirping
Jul 22, 2021
26
54
51
So shortly before 3AM, an owl attacked the smallest (runt) of my 10 ducks. It was a mallard, about half the size of the other ducks. All the ducks are only 10 weeks old, and this one had particularly bad vision. It always seemed to hone in on the group with sound instead of sight, and was always last to get to the feeder when it was replenished.

The owl waited until the runt drifted from the tight group and then pounced on it. It then dragged the duck to the edge, and up on to the grass. Still having some fight in her, the duck dragged itself and the owl back into the pond, where the owl sat on her for several minutes (presumably to drown her) and then again pulled her back to shore. At that point, the owl flew away, but we couldn't tell if the duck was in its claws. An hour later it returned to the spot of the killing - so I think it may have just left it there for a while. After this clip stops, I found the owl returned to several points in the yard around daybreak (550a) and then left.


So, my question is, is there anything I can do to keep this from happening again? I'm sure even suggesting to dispatch the owl probably breaks multiple federal laws, so I suspect that option of off the table.

Since it came back and loitered several more hours after the kill, I have to presume it's interested in the other ducks. But perhaps they're too big for it?
 

SolarDuck

Crowing
Jan 31, 2020
1,903
4,454
431
So sorry for your loss, all I can suggest is having a completely predator proof pen at night. Maybe also depending on how big that pond is you might be able to get a large bird netting meant for a garden and cover the pond with it. Since he successfully got a meal he will come back for another.
 

GranderTheGander

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Feb 3, 2021
200
296
121
Not to be insensitive, but this could show how nature eliminates weaker birds and animals. I would think the owl would go after a white duck, an easier target and an abnormal color for wild ducks, yet instead it gets a mallard you described as having bad vision and being slower. The two main targets of Mother Nature tend to be the weak and the abnormal.

I once took home sick and injured pigeons at a park that I easily caught because they had pox or cankers. Then, the Cooper hawks made a comeback and there were no more pigeons ever again to take home and rehab. The hawks had quickly eradicated those two diseases from the park pigeon flock, as well as obviously targeted injured birds.

Your pond unfortunately looks too small to be predator proof. As others have said, you may be just feeding the wildlife until no one is left to eat. Even if you legally get rid of a predator, another one will soon replace it. Nature is not set up to accomodate domestic waterfowl. I couldn't tell if the owl was a Great Horned one like we have. If so, it would have no problem getting a large domestic duck. They can pick up small dogs and cats!

It was good to see, though, how fast and smart your ducks were about ducking under water when they saw the owl. That shows domestic ducks may not have all the instincts and skills of wild ones, but they aren't stupid or without survival skills. Yet sadly there are some predators they will not outsmart forever.
 

erkme73

Chirping
Jul 22, 2021
26
54
51
Not to be insensitive, but this could show how nature eliminates weaker birds and animals. I would think the owl would go after a white duck, an easier target and an abnormal color for wild ducks, yet instead it gets a mallard you described as having bad vision and being slower. The two main targets of Mother Nature tend to be the weak and the abnormal.

I once took home sick and injured pigeons at a park that I easily caught because they had pox or cankers. Then, the Cooper hawks made a comeback and there were no more pigeons ever again to take home and rehab. The hawks had quickly eradicated those two diseases from the park pigeon flock, as well as obviously targeted injured birds.

Your pond unfortunately looks too small to be predator proof. As others have said, you may be just feeding the wildlife until no one is left to eat. Even if you legally get rid of a predator, another one will soon replace it. Nature is not set up to accomodate domestic waterfowl. I couldn't tell if the owl was a Great Horned one like we have. If so, it would have no problem getting a large domestic duck. They can pick up small dogs and cats!

It was good to see, though, how fast and smart your ducks were about ducking under water when they saw the owl. That shows domestic ducks may not have all the instincts and skills of wild ones, but they aren't stupid or without survival skills. Yet sadly there are some predators they will not outsmart forever.

You are absolutely correct in all of your assessment. I even told the kids (6 & 8) that "Malmal" will probably not live as long as the others due to her handicap. The pond is about 75' x 50' and 4' deep at the center. It's primary purpose is as a water reservoir for fire suppression (our fire rescue response time is 45-60 min). Having raised the ducks from day old ducklings makes it a bit personal, of course. But the reality is, the pond was put in for the family. Ducks are a bit of an afterthought. Will do what we can to minimize predation, but ultimately it may be futile.
 

erkme73

Chirping
Jul 22, 2021
26
54
51
So sorry for your loss, all I can suggest is having a completely predator proof pen at night. Maybe also depending on how big that pond is you might be able to get a large bird netting meant for a garden and cover the pond with it. Since he successfully got a meal he will come back for another.


Will ducks go into such a pen automatically (like chickens do with the coop)? Or would I have to round them up ever night? I'm not averse to increasing security, but I would rather not have to add more responsibilities to an already overflowing plate.

We did build a floating duck house that is kept in the center of the pond. We figured that would keep them safe from the typical four-legged predators. But TBH, owls are not anything that we even considered.
 

jus10inla

Songster
Sep 26, 2020
391
534
146
Louisiana
Will ducks go into such a pen automatically (like chickens do with the coop)? Or would I have to round them up ever night? I'm not averse to increasing security, but I would rather not have to add more responsibilities to an already overflowing plate.

We did build a floating duck house that is kept in the center of the pond. We figured that would keep them safe from the typical four-legged predators. But TBH, owls are not anything that we even considered.
It takes about a week or two of every nite corraling them to Auto pen, then like clockwork they will go in
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,272
15,954
832
Nevada County, CA
Will ducks go into such a pen automatically (like chickens do with the coop)? Or would I have to round them up ever night? I'm not averse to increasing security, but I would rather not have to add more responsibilities to an already overflowing plate.

We did build a floating duck house that is kept in the center of the pond. We figured that would keep them safe from the typical four-legged predators. But TBH, owls are not anything that we even considered.
Mine followed the chickens in! They have their own duck house, but they decided they prefer the coop. Started on day 2 after I put them outside.

Now, my Runner Figgy will go in the coop when it gets dark and quack her little duckie head off until the rest of her sisters come in, too. It's HILARIOUS! She is the "designated duckie," and she keeps the party girls in line!
 

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