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Duck and Waterfowl Habits

Duck and Waterfowl HabitsDucks and most waterfowl eat insects, snails, frogs, and fish. They also feed on grains, grasses, and other kinds of plant life.

The mother ducks lay from six to perhaps sixteen eggs in a warm nest made of leaves, dry grass, and other materials. Sometimes two ducks lay eggs in the same nest. The nest is lined with down which the mother duck takes from her own breast. Nests are usually built on the ground near the water. Sometimes they are placed in a bushy field farther back. Some kinds of ducks may build their nests in hollow trees. The mother takes care of the family. For three or four weeks she remains almost constantly on the nest. The ducklings are covered with down when they break through their shell. The mother leads them to water as soon as they can travel. The ducklings cannot fly for six weeks or more after they are hatched. They must be carefully guarded by the mother.

When the ducklings are young, all the adult ducks shed many of their old, worn, and ragged feathers. The adult ducks cannot fly until strong, new feathers grow in.

The male ducks usually have more brilliant feathers than the females. When they shed their feathers in the summer, however, they become covered with an eclipse {dull} plumage. At this time they look more like the drab females.

Ducks often live together in large flocks. Some of them travel north in the spring, and south in the fall. Many of them are shop by hunters during the southward flight. Duck hunting season takes a large toll on the population.

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The eating and living habits of the duck may help you understand what to keep in mind when hunting this waterfowl bird.