Ask the SPCA: Protecting baby birds crossing the road - BC SPCA
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Ask the SPCA: Protecting baby birds crossing the road

March 4, 2019

What should you do if you see a duck or goose family trying to cross a busy road?

Each spring, ducks and geese march from their nest sites to nearby ponds or streams with their newly hatched and flightless babies in tow. In most cases, the family makes the trek with little difficulty.

Problems can arise, however, depending on where the nest site is located. Ducks and geese are known to nest in some pretty perplexing places. But, while a school courtyard or a cement island in the middle of a parking lot may seem like a less-than-ideal choice, these locations usually have some sort of appeal for the nesting birds. For a pair of geese, that means a wide, unobstructed view of approaching predators; for a single female mallard, a well-camouflaged spot is more her style.

A Duck family

These locations may have what the birds are looking for in a nest site, but when the time comes for the family to move, things can get tricky – especially when a busy street stands between them and water. Attempts to intervene can often endanger the family, not to mention jeopardize the safety of the rescuers involved.

Typically, the best solution is to first contact local police for help in stopping traffic before slowly and calmly herding the family to safety. Remember: panicked babies can scatter and frightened parents can fly off, complicating any further rescue efforts! The birds should only be captured as a last resort if they are in danger.

Get more information on helping wildlife. If you see injured wildlife, call the BC SPCA Animal Helpline at 1-855-622-7722.

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