DNR officials say ducks are having a rough winter due to frozen lakes

Long-tailed duck

Long-tailed duck

Don’t feed the ducks, and don’t try to rescue the ducks. That’s the word from DNR officials.

Officials with the DNR said some waterfowl in the state are having a tough winter, similar to last year.

They said with 85 percent of Michigan’s Great Lakes and other water bodies frozen, ducks are having a hard time finding food.

Holly Vaughn is a Wildlife Outreach Technician with the DNR. She said the shrinking open water areas mean less access to food.

“So we’re seeing large concentrations gathering in those remaining areas of open water. So with so many ducks in a pretty small area and a fairly small amount of food, some of these ducks are becoming malnourished,” Vaughn said.

Canvasback duck

Canvasback duck

She said diving ducks are having a real problem with the ice cover.

“They rely on a diet of aquatic vegetation, mollusks, and small fish. And they dive down for this prey that they eat. Well the areas where they’re congregating- the water is really deep. So they’re not able to find that good food that they thrive on,” She said.

Vaughn said the list of impacted ducks includes canvasbacks, long-tailed ducks, redheads and scaup.

She said none of the species are listed as threatened or endangered. She added that the ice should free up in the next few weeks.