How do I discourage ducks from coming into my swimming pool?

Ducks (mostly mallards) will sometimes use backyard pools as a water source. Pools are enticing environments for ducks, especially during nesting, because they provide a good source of protection from predators, and the surroundings can offer a great source of food. Ducks love to eat plant materials and invertebrates that are commonly found poolside.

So what can you do to prevent your pool from attracting ducks?

The first thing you can do is scare the ducks away from your yard as soon as you spot them, and before they have time to nest. If you are not sure how long the birds have been using your yard, check around the property for a nest. Nests are shallow indentations on the ground that are usually lined with plant material and feathers. If the bird has started nesting, wait until the eggs are hatched to see if the female duck will relocate her young. If she does not, call Le Nichoir.

If you spot a duck entering your pool, the best way to deter it is to cover your pool when you are not using it. If you do not have a pool covering, you can try one of the suggestions below.

Additional tips

• Plant tall grasses around the pool instead of low-growing shrubs and perennials. Ducks tend not to like environments with tall grass where predators can easily hide. Try to interfere with their flight paths (your lawn) by planting shrubs and trees in open areas of lawn.
• Ducks find plants that produce berries, nuts or other edible fruits enticing, so it’s best to avoid planting them.
• Ducks are grazers, so reducing the area of lawn or installing fences, hedges or other barriers around your pool will make the environment less favorable for them.
• Place a variety of floating toys (any type will do) in the pool—the more the better! Ducks do not like to be crowded, and the toys moving in the pool will scare them away.
• Install stakes into the ground at each corner of the pool, then stretch mylar streamers across the pool in the shape of an “x”. The sun reflecting off the streamers will scare the birds away.

You may have heard about these tricks, but our experience suggests they are not effective at deterring ducks:

• Plastic owls, especially those that are not animated or make noise
• Pie plates attached to strings
• Using you dog to scare the birds.

Whatever you do, just remember that migratory birds are protected by law and that removing their nests is illegal.

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