There are various waterfowl in Ontario, including swans, geese and ducks. They are commonly found in city parks and along lakes and ponds.

Avian flu

Avian flu has been confirmed in Mississauga. The risk of transmission to humans is low but is high among wild or domestic birds like turkeys and chickens. In some cases, pets like birds, cats and dogs can contract the flu.

To avoid further spread of avian flu, keep your pets indoors or on a leash outdoors to avoid interacting with other wildlife or contact with fecal waste. Stay away from bird droppings and avoid handling sick, dying or dead birds/animals. Clean bird feeders with bleach and water and remove them if you see dead birds. Avoid feeding or interacting with wild birds.

Those participating in the Urban Hen Pilot Program should keep a closed flock, limit visitors, and avoid introducing new birds. Follow and familiarize yourself with best practices and disinfection measures to help prevent an outbreak. For more information on protecting your birds from avian flu, visit Canadian Food Inspection Agency site here.

Contact 311 to report a sick or injured wild bird or animal or the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-673-4781 to report any die-off incident of wild birds or mammals.

Visit the Ministry of Health for more information about avian flu.

Do not feed waterfowl

Feeding wildlife in public is illegal, and it conditions them to rely on humans to provide them with food.

Also, feeding waterfowl can:

  • Lead to greater fecal production that harbours bacteria and spreads diseases
  • Cause waterfowl to become more aggressive and lose their fear of humans
  • Attract rodents and pests if food is left on the ground
  • Lead to conditions such as “angel wings” caused by malnutrition from eating bread and crackers

What to do if you encounter young waterfowl or nests

Waterfowl nests are usually found in sheltered, camouflaged spaces and areas with lots of vegetation. Nests can be found by:

  • Rooftops
  • Doorways
  • Ponds
  • Lakes

Waterfowl defend their nests for approximately 10 to 12 weeks after the eggs hatch. Avoid disturbing or approaching waterfowl, as they can be aggressive toward humans during this period.

Waterfowl nests can sometimes be found in dangerous locations, such as in courtyards, pools or balconies. Do not attempt to move the nest yourself, and contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice.

Do not attempt to move the nest as:

  • As waterfowl are federally protected, and moving a nest without a permit is illegal
  • Waterfowl may abandon the nest if it is moved or relocated as they cannot recognize it as their own

Contact the Canadian Wildlife Service or wildlife rehabilitator for:

  • Advice if you find a nest in a difficult place
  • A permit to move the nest

Ducklings and goslings found on their own are considered orphaned if their mother or other babies similar in size are not nearby.

Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if you don’t see a family nearby. If cannot reach a rehabilitator, you can call Mississauga Animal Services at 905-896-5858.

How to report ill or injured waterfowl

Waterfowl may be ill or injured if you notice the following:

  • Disorientation or paralysis
  • Staggering or toppling movements
  • Blood on their body
  • Injury or open wounds
  • Movements indicating difficulty flying
  • Fish hooks on their body
  • Trapped movement beneath a fishing line
  • A wet bill potentially caused by exposure to contaminants

If you encounter waterfowl with minor injuries, you can contact a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator or Canadian Wildlife Service at 1-800-668-6767.