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

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.

When you encounter a waterfowl

The Migratory Bird Convention Act prohibits you from moving nests, birds and eggs. Learn what to do when you encounter waterfowl of different types and life stages.

Once a duckling learns to walk within hours after hatching from its egg, the mother duck will lead it to the closest source of water. Sometimes, this leads to ducklings entering swimming pools in private properties.

If you find ducklings in your swimming pool, consider the following to encourage them to exist the pool:

  • Build a secure ramp using sytrofoam, flutter board or piece of wood and leave the ducklings alone to figure out how the ramp works and use it to leave the pool
  • Raise the water levels in your pool to help the ducklings leave the pool
  • Install a wildlife pool ramp purchased online or from a store to allow ducklings to safely exit the pool and avoid drowning from exhaustion

If ducklings remain in the pool after you’ve tried all suggested methods and require help getting them out, contact Animal Services at 905-896-5858.

Waterfowl nests can be found in trees, shrubs, bushes, open fields and on roofs.

If you find an egg, do not touch it or attempt to incubate it. Nests, eggs and birds can’t be moved, as most birds in Ontario are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Waterfowl are commonly observed in the City, especially around bodies of water. It is unlikely that waterfowl will approach people or display aggressive behaviour unless they feel threatened.

Do not feed waterfowl. Information on why it’s important not to feed waterfowl and how doing so can hurt them is available online.

Canada geese commonly nest in open areas, such as parking lots, sidewalks and rooftops. As they’re federally protected, you are prohibited from moving, destroying or interfering with the nest, eggs or harm them.

If Canada geese have nested near your business or home, consider the following suggestions to make the area uninviting and to limit your and other people’s interaction:

  • Create a visual barrier, such as a snow fence or a tarp, between the nest and the pathway to lessen the threat geese may feel when people or pets pass by.
  • Instal signs around to indicate there is a nest in the area to alert other pedestrians.
  • Don’t approach the geese, their nesting area or goslings (baby geese).

More information on preventing and managing conflicts with birds is available on the Ontario provincial government website.

Report ill or injured waterfowl

Waterfowl may be ill or injured if you notice:

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

If you suspect a waterfowl is sick, injured or orphaned, contact Animal Services at 905-896-5858.