Make sure that the duck is injured without touching it by checking for:

  • Blood
  • A Drooping Wing
  • Wing(s) held out from body
  • Limping or obvious Leg injury
  • A line wrapped around it

If you feel the duck is injured or sick, it must come to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. Please do not attempt to care for it yourself.


  • If the duck can fly, do not attempt a rescue. It will require professional capture. Let it rest until help arrives.
  • If you need to rescue a mother with babies, or some of her babies are injured, you must catch her first.   If you scare her away, you will orphan all the babies.
  • Do not feed, water, or bathe the duck
  • Gently scoop the duck up in a towel be careful of the wings feet.
  • Gently place the injured duck into a box with ventilation holes and close the lid
  • Bring it to our facility during business hours or contact Animal control or Project Wildlife for assistance if we are not open.


Please Note: It is very common to see a female duck with her ducklings in a busy residential area or street. The ducklings must stay with their mother for their best chance of survival. Mom knows best!  If you attempt to intervene, you may scare the mother away.  It is very difficult to get the mother back, once she’s been frightened. Keeping a distance is critical.

Reasons a duckling becomes orphaned:

  • Late hatching
  • Became separated or too weak during the walk back to water after hatching
  • Injured
  • Human, pet or predator interference.

What you need to know if they need rescue.

  • Orphaned babies need immediate professional care in order to survive and remain wild.
  • Ducklings must have warmth. They cannot generate their own body heat without the heat from the mother.
  • Do not, under any circumstance, place them in water or allow them to swim. Until they grow feathers, ducklings get their waterproofing ability from the oils on mom’s feathers. Ducklings will become hypothermic and, in many cases, drown when young.
  • Improper nutrition can be fatal. It is better to get them to a center quickly, then attempt to mimic their diet.  Hypoglycemia can happen quickly. If you are going to be delayed, call for assistance.
  • Please do not have small children handling them. They are frightened, and they bruise easily.

Place them in a box lined with a towel and add small holes for ventilation. Please place the box in a quiet, warm, situation until they arrive at the rehab center.