Nesting ducks should be left alone. The eggs will hatch on the 28th day from the time the last egg is laid. The hen and her brood will leave the nest as soon as possible. Be patient and do not draw attention to the nest. Discourage people from putting out water/food bowls or the like. Do not allow pets to roam freely in the yard while the hen is nesting and remind children to not bother the hen.
As hens may return to the same nesting location from year to year, you may want to consider taking measures to prevent them from building a nest there again. You may place a large object in the previous year’s location (i.e. basketball, cement block, lawn ornament, etc.) or cover it with mesh wire excluding the hen from nesting in that location again. If you notice a hen building a nest do the same before any eggs are laid. Hens often build nests in locations near pedestrian traffic putting them in harms way. Such areas may also be excluded.
Abandoned ducklings can be brought to the shelter. Gently place the ducklings in a covered box and bring them in to the shelter. Keep the ducklings warm and as dry as possible and do not feed them. Animal Control will retrieve abandoned ducklings in the cities of La Crosse and Onalaska. We can often reunite them with their own hen or release them with another hen when available.
Ducks in traffic are common calls in the spring and summer. Animal Control will retrieve live adult ducks that have been injured by traffic and hens with ducklings in high traffic.Animal Control may not respond to hens in low traffic neighborhoods depending on the circumstances (i.e. foster hens are not needed, ducks are not in clear danger, or Animal Control is busy with priority calls).
Wood ducks are difficult to catch and readily abandon their ducklings when approached. Leave wood duck hens walking with ducklings alone. Chances are, the hen will fly away and abandon her ducklings.
People who own ponds can cover them to prevent mallards and other waterfowl from disturbing the pond, its plants and fish. Suggested covers can be old screen door or ¼ in. wire mesh nailed to a wooden frame. Simply scaring the ducks away may work, but you need to be persistent about it. Wind socks and other lawn ornaments may be helpful at first, but are generally ineffective as the birds do become accustomed to such things.