By Mrs. Ripa
On March 31, 2021, our class went out on a bird-watching tour around our school. We were lucky enough to see a pair of Mallards fly over us and land in our school pond which is a man-made stormwater retention pond. Mallards are dabbling ducks that often live in ponds, wetlands, and marshes. They prefer both natural and artificial habitats so seeing the Mallards in our pond confirms this.
In 2018, our team installed two artificial floating islands in our pond to increase biodiversity and help to clean the water. The islands are made of mesh material with native plants growing on top and through the island. We planted cattail, swamp milkweed, New England aster, arrowhead, and more. What was noteworthy about our observation of the Mallards is that at one point during the day, the ducks were “nesting” up on the floating island! We wonder if the ducks will nest on our islands among the tall cattails and milkweed; it would be a great habitat. When we approached the ducks, they hopped off into the water and swam around the pond.
We also saw the ducks tipping over and feeding which is what “dabbling” ducks do as they do not often dive for food. We know there are insects, crayfish, and small fish in our pond so there is plenty of food for the ducks in our pond. We think our school pond would be a great place for the Mallards to stay!
- Cornell University. Mallard Identification. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mallard/id