Mallard: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week
Source: Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network
Patient #3413 of this year: Mallard
Status: Still in Care
On August 6, this mallard was brought to us from the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center after she could not fly away from a cat chasing her. Once in care at SBWCN, our expert team discovered that someone had clipped her primary feathers, seemingly in an attempt to domesticate her to keep as a pet – however, this mallard is wild. This photo indicates straight-cut feathers on both wings, as if someone were attempting to domesticate her and keep her as a pet. While we at SBWCN love ducks like everyone else, wild mallards like patient #3413 should be kept wild. Clipping a wild bird’s wings in an attempt to domesticate them is cruel. In addition to the clipped wings, #3413 was mildly dehydrated and a bit thin upon arrival to the Center. Since receiving some quality care, this patient is doing well, enjoying the pool and the company of our other 52 mallards in care.
Some marvelous mallard facts:
- The mallard is thought to be the most abundant and wide-ranging duck on Earth.
- While it is a common activity to feed ducks bread at the park or pond, bread (especially white and/or processed bread with added sugars) is not good for ducks. Bread lacks many nutrients necessary for proper growth and can lead to permanent growth deformities in waterfowl, impacting their ability to fly. Better, healthier options to offer ducks are: snails, halved grapes, lettuce, raw oats, or birdseed!
- If a predator is lurking nearby, a mother mallard will pretend to be injured to distract it from her brood.
While she is otherwise healthy, this mallard’s clipped wing situation will require her to be at the Wildlife Care Center for quite a while to regrow her feathers (up to 6 months to a year) so she can be successful upon return to the wild. The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network has cared for over 3,500 patients so far this year. 356 of them are still receiving care at the Wildlife Care Center. You can help animals like this mallard get their second chance at a wild life by going to www.sbwcn.org/donate.