Waterfowl

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

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.