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Winter weather conditions can pose challenges for ducks

Published by Central Office February 12, 2019

Contact(s): Nancy Businga, DNR wildlife disease specialist, 608-221-5375

MADISON - As winter continues in Wisconsin, harsh weather conditions can pose challenges for Wisconsin's ducks.

Freezing drizzle and ice can make road surfaces look like water to many species of ducks, including a group of species known as diving ducks. The position of their legs makes diving ducks suited to diving underwater for food but can also make takeoff from land extremely difficult. When diving ducks mistake ice for open water, they can become stranded.

Diving ducks can also become injured from landing on roads or from being hit by motor vehicles.

"People should not put their own safety or the safety of others at risk to assist stranded ducks," said Nancy Businga, wildlife disease specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Diving ducks found stranded on land need to be assessed for injuries before being safely returned to water areas."

Those interested in assisting a stranded duck should contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. For more information regarding ducks in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "waterfowl."

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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