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Preferred Habitats Of Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy ducks are not a species that everyone is familiar with even though they are found almost everywhere in the Americas. In the United States you will find the higher concentrations (higher compared to the rest of the country) in southern Texas. You can find higher concentrations south of the border. Muscovy ducks are mostly in the areas of Mexico, Central America and the north of South America. The wetlands are the best areas to find these ducks especially if they are located near wooded areas. They will nest in those areas when they find tree cavities and that is where they will lay their eggs.
Because of the areas they inhabit they do not have an established migrating period like other species of ducks. The cold is not usually a problem, but what may make the species move around a bit is the area’s rainy season. Unfortunately in the last few years there has been a decline in the number of Muscovy ducks, and the reason is that their preferred habitats have started to become smaller due to human expansion. Some organizations are working to give the species a habitat they can go to and that is especially true in Mexico.
Biology And Feeding Of Muscovy Ducks
If you were to ask any person about the biology or the eating habits of the Muscovy duck they may draw a blank and not even know what a Muscovy duck is. Though they are rare in the northern United States, people in states like Florida, Louisiana and Texas are more likely to know about them. Their coloration can be brown to black with some green located in their dorsal plumage. Both males and females have the same look, but not the same size. The males are almost always twice as large as the females in the same area. Males will also display black patches on the skin.
Muscovy ducks love to live in the wetlands and close to heavily wooded areas. The reason for that preference is that the species gets everything they need for their diet in those areas. A Muscovy duck’s diet includes stems, roots, seeds from both aquatic and land plants, leaves, and other greens. They are also known to eat the smaller fish, crustaceans, reptiles, termites and insects. Because of this diet they can help control the bug population in a particular area. This type of habitat has dramatically been reduced in recent years which contribute to the reduction of population of Muscovy ducks.
Reproduction Of Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy ducks are not one of the most common species in the United States so a lot of people are not very familiar with them. In the areas in the country where they do live tend to be less populated, close to forests and wetlands. The reason for that preference is that they can reproduce in those areas. They also have a lot of what the hen needs after laying the eggs. The eggs will usually go into a tree hole where they will be incubated by the hen. The number of eggs is usually between eight and sixteen.
The eggs take an average of 35 days to hatch and the hen will incubate the eggs for most of that time. They will leave the eggs for very short periods of time each day (usually less than an hour and a half) at which time they will eat, defecate and even take a small bath. After the incubating period is over the eggs will begin to hatch. Hatching can in some cases take up to 24 hours. The chicks do not produce heat so they need to stay close to mom for 2 and a-half months. Though the pairing is not a lifetime pairing between mom and dad, the male will search for food and stay close to the chicks for a period after hatching.
Can Muscovy Ducks Spread Disease To Humans?
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the possibility of Muscovy ducks spreading disease to humans. A lot of people think that these birds carry diseases which can infect you, but that is not necessarily the case. That does not mean that you cannot get sick if you have several Muscovy ducks in the area, but it means that they will not give you a disease if you come in contact with them. The difference is that unlike mammals you will most certainly be safe from disease if all you do is touch a Muscovy duck.
As stated earlier however you can still catch a disease if Muscovy ducks are close by, but it is because of their feces and not because of actual contact. When the feces of most birds dry they will become almost a powder and when that powder is moved by the wind you can breathe it in. There are bacteria and fungi on that powder and that is where the infection can come from. Other factors also need to be present in order for you to actually get sick. If a person has a compromised immune system for example they will be more likely to get an infection than a healthy person.
SOME SPECIFIC MUSCOVY DUCK AREAS OF INTEREST:
How To Get Rid Of Muscovy Ducks In Your Yard
Just as it is the case with most aquatic birds Muscovy ducks can make a home in your yard. The problem with that is that depending on the number of ducks they can destroy your yard or fill it with excrement. That is why it is so important to know what to do, especially if you have a body of water close to your property. Not knowing what to do can mean a lot of expenses to fix your yard and more so to remove the birds when in fact you could get the birds away without much money.
When it comes to Muscovy ducks you can forget about traps if you don't have experience. The number of birds, plus their size makes it almost impossible to get rid of them using regular traps. Large funnel traps that catch the whole group are necessary. Shooting them is also a bad idea especially if you do not know the laws regarding bird shooting in your area. The best way to get rid of them is to prevent them from landing. Using predator decoys is one way to accomplish this but bear in mind they need to be moved constantly. In many areas you can now hire people with professionally trained dogs that will keep them away long enough that they will find another area.
How To Get Rid Of Muscovy Ducks In Your Pond
A pond is one of the favorite areas for Muscovy ducks so if you are in an area where they are and you have a pond you will have Muscovy ducks. The problem is that the ducks will see the pond and associate it with food and as a habitat which they can use. Because of that if you expect to get rid of Muscovy ducks you must also give them a reason not to land on the pond or by it. That is usually accomplished by using decoys, lights or sounds and can be anything that the ducks will fear as long as they are moved and changed often.
Some of the things that will help are decoys such as animals which the ducks would see as predators. Coyote decoys for example would work great, but they have to be visible from above to stop the birds from landing. Scattering mirrors close to the pond is another way to keep the ducks away. Some people find that if they have a dog they will not have Muscovy ducks. That is because the dog’s instinct will be to chase the birds if they land and if they have not landed yet, they will be discouraged from doing so at the sight of the dog.
How To Get Rid Of Muscovy Ducks In Your Pool
If you have a pool and you live in the southern part of the country, then there is always a chance that Muscovy ducks will make their way to it. Another problem is that you will not always be able to keep your eye on the pool because of work or because there are other things that you want to do during your day. Trapping them is almost an impossible task so that is also something that is not worth trying. One of the best ways to get rid of them with a pool is to invest in a quality pool cover and keep it on the pool at all times.
The first thing to know is that you do not have to be by your pool 24/7 in order to get Muscovy ducks to leave. In fact all that you need is something else to do the job for you. Some will suggest the use of mirrors by the pool. They are the easiest way to prevent Muscovy ducks from landing because the reflection of sunlight from the mirrors will make landing a challenge to the ducks. If you have a dog and a fence it may also be a good idea to give it access to the area as they will pose a predator threat.
How To Get Rid Of Muscovy Ducks In Your Garden
As a home owner you should know that there are a few reasons why Muscovy ducks will come into your property. The garden is one of those reasons. The garden can provide food that the ducks are looking for and if you are close to a body of water they can keep coming back until your garden is destroyed. Another problem is that Muscovy ducks do not fly alone. You could realistically have ten ducks in your property from one day to the next. So what is it that you need to do to keep these birds off your garden?
The garden offers less room to work with than say your yard, or other open areas. That means that you will have to get a little creative about the things you do to keep them out. One of the ways to do that is to use motion detectors with sounds of birds in distress. The sounds are effective at keeping birds out and the Muscovy duck is no different. The best way to keep them out is to exclude them from the food they are seeking. You can do this with nets and with fencing around the garden.