Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Sylmar, California, USA

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Sylmar, California, USA
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Registered: May 2016
City/Town/Province: Sylmar
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Raising Urban Ducklings

During the last few months, I have had the privilege of helping a mother duck protect her nest and raise her eggs into ducklings. Back in February, I noticed a duck on the roof of a classroom. She staked out her new home and soon moved herself into the school garden. She began to make an indentation between the tomato and onion plants. It did not take long before I noticed that she was beginning to make a nest. She appeared nervous and would get spooked easily when students walked around the garden area. She would fly away but would soon return to continue her nest. I decided to inform a teacher that we needed to come up with a plan to ensure the duck was left alone to build her nest. I placed in front of the garden an upside down pot to create steps for the duck to easily access her nest. After, I placed a trifold poster board to create a covering for her to have privacy and provide security from students.
As the days progressed volunteers and I took turns protecting the dwelling and placing water in a bowl to keep her hydrated. The duck’s nest got more elaborate as she began to place sticks and leaves as well as some of her feathers. It didn’t take long before I noticed the first egg in the nest. We were all very excited and thought it was cool to have the duck choose our garden to have her babies. I noticed that the duck placed many of her soft feathers around the nest to protect the egg. The next day, as I came to replace the water and check on her house, I noticed two more eggs in the nest. We decided to take turns taking care of the nest from predators and students to make sure the nest was not disturbed. In the next couple of weeks, every day a new egg would appear. We were so ecstatic at the possibilities of having multiple ducklings. She finally laid all of the eggs she was to have, to a grand total of nine.
The weather changed and rain was on the way. I decided with the team members that we needed to waterproof the duck house. We placed a plastic bag around the house to ensure the rain did not destroy the nest. However, after a few days the house was beginning to curl and it was falling apart. It was then that I decided to change the trifold for a new home for the duck. Since, we did not have the adequate materials to build a wood house, we got a large box and cut out a large opening for the door and made two small windows on the side to allow air to flow in and out. We placed plastic on top to protect it from the rain. The duck nested daily in her new home. She sat long hours as we watched with anticipation for the ducklings to hatch.
It took two months, but the day finally arrived when the baby ducklings were born. I went one morning to change her water and I noticed the eggs were starting to crack. Soon seven of the ducklings were born. Unfortunately, two of the eggs did not hatch. Momma duck and her ducklings were up and moving within a few hours. In anticipation of the babies being born, I placed a kiddy pool with water need her nest to give her a place to swim and teach her babies how to be a duck. Within a day, momma duck and her babies decided to leave the garden and the school.
This experience has been very rewarding for me and the volunteers because we had the privilege of helping a mother duck raise her eggs into ducklings. The chances of this duck successfully having her eggs hatch were very slim because the school is not the ideal environment for ducklings to hatch. We have no grass areas, have busy streets with cars speeding by, and no natural water sources for the duck to live in. We took it upon ourselves to create an environment that is duck friendly. Not only did this service project help educate me and the volunteers on duck life, but it created a small community of volunteers that worked together to protect wildlife in our urban city. We look forward to having her return and help her raise more ducklings.
Date: June 5, 2016 Views: 4916 File size: 18.8kb, 1822.3kb : 2988 x 3515
Hours Volunteered: 100
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 1
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