Well, not today anyway.
There have been cases where ducks swimming in foggy conditions have swam to their deaths over the Falls. They unfortunately did not see the danger of the waterfalls ahead.
In 1984 it was reported that over 1000 merganser ducks got disoriented in foggy conditions and were swept over both the American and Horseshoe Falls. They plummeted 150 feet to the drop below. Many were killed instantly and those that survived were left marooned to experience a harrowing eventual death. Hundreds had broken wings or legs and found temporary refuge on the ice below but there was no hope for rescue. The problem was that their rescue was deemed impossible because of the treacherous conditions at the base of the Falls. I remember this vividly. I was so moved by the sight of these poor creatures.
Interestingly, fish do swim right over the falls. And most of them survive when they hit the plunge pool 150 feet below. They are underwater the whole way down, so no problem with that. They are light, pliable and built to withstand the pressure when they hit. Their main problem is if the fall stuns them, they become dinner for the waiting seagulls and turns.
People go over too. Some are daredevils and survive, others are not so lucky. Some fall in by accident like a seven-year old boy in 1960. He went over in just a life jacket and lived. In fact, I believe him and another man to be the only ones not in a protective, specially designed capsule to survive the fall.
And there are those that choose to end their time on earth. I was at the Falls many years back and watched in horror as a man plummeted to his death. People were screaming up river and running along side the rapids when I heard the commotion. I did not have a camera at the time because I was there walking my dog. What a sight and memory.
And if you are brave enough, here is a newscast video, not of the man I saw, but another earlier in 1985. This is almost exactly like I saw it. Watch closely behind the news anchor as the man runs from the shore and jumps into the rapids. This man jumped in and the cameraman captured the whole thing. Sounds of horror and astonishment from the tourists and anchor.
My husband and his friends also found a man dead while walking along a trail at the Gorge as they were returning from a day of fishing. This man’s death resulted from a fall of about 75 feet over the side of the gorge to the rocks below. It was determined as an apparent suicide. Niagara Falls has its tragedies. A person in these rapids may be dead before they even hit the falls. The rocks you saw in my earlier posts shreds and cuts them like paper I have read.
But ducks on the other hand…..
ride these rapids like it is a fun experience. The water wheels them around and they ride down backwards, like a boat’s bow cutting through the water. But then they get near the brink and paddle furiously back to shore. What a dangerous game they play. The one below is paddling like crazy. He was getting very close as I took his picture from the man bridge. The ones above are headed to the safety of the ice.
When I first moved to Niagara Falls, I would go and watch the kids feed hundreds of ducks, including domestic ones. I doubt they flew here either.
But then what happened, was a massive duck die off. They would either gorge on too much bread or eat moldy bread. It was then prohibited.
This sign and more information on duck feeding can be found at LiveDucks.
Now you do not see anyone feeding them, plus not as many ducks either.
Eating bread is bad for the ducks health and well-being. Some choke on it too.
When ducks have a diet of bread and junk food, their organs become engorged with fat tissue and the ducks then can die from malnutrition, heart disease, liver problems and other heath related complications.
An overfed duck gets sluggish and can not escape predators. Plus if they rely on a steady food source of human junk food, which they seem to relish, their migratory patterns change. Fat ducks are not agile ducks.
Here is a Falls predator just waiting for a slow duck dinner to waddle by. People dump unwanted pets at the Falls regularly. There is a good size population of cats that must be captured regularly.
Feeding ducks create circumstances where they take up year round residence. This can lead to and encourage overbreeding. They start getting aggressive to one another when populations increase. This is kinda funny to watch. They are so clumsy.
Another problem has been the coins people toss in the water to bring them luck. The zinc found in a penny can kill a duck and the ducks will ingest them while searching the bottom of the creeks and shallow rapids for food. The place above used to have hundreds of ducks waiting for a handout. Now the ducks are in search of food found in their natural habitat.
Different ducks seen in Niagara can be Scoters, Mergansers, Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and Old Squaws. Mostly I see the Mallards like you see here.
The ducks above are feeding. They are just out of sight to the image below.