What Do Ducks Do In Winter? See Them On the Niagara River


They have their own Duckdom out on the ice in the Niagara River. So many ducks… I have to wonder how they get along for food in winter conditions.

What I did not tell you last post, was it is not legal to feed the wildlife at the Falls, and that means all wildlife. It is posted. 😦


But that does not stop the songbird enthusiasts, they even hang feeders in the woods. Not me though.


But not feeding the ducks is for good reason. Why you ask?

If you want an information packed post on the reasons to not feed ducks and also to see these waterways clear of this much ice, see my post, Ducks Over the Falls. And yes, ducks do go over the Falls and not to a good end. It is one reason not to encourage them in this area. The post talks about the transition over the years of the number of ducks that come here. Check out the post before and after Ducks Over the Falls too. Both are places you will unlikely ever see in winter.


When I first moved here, people would feed them bread and corn. I see the ducks diving for food, but it seems like a hard life.

Does it not look like the ducks are in the arctic in this post? Mallards do summer in Alaska according the range map and are here year round.


A lot of time is spent flying from ice flow to ice flow, with little more happening than just sitting on the ice. They seem to just wait out the cold weather and ice.


The Queen sitting high, presiding over the realm of Duckdom. A knight at her side.


I visited Duckdom three times, at 9 am, 1 pm and 5 pm.


I live so close I can get here easily. I figured if I show up at different times I might catch the waterfowl doing something interesting. Nope, they just hang out on the ice all day. A few were bobbing for vegetation.


Wow, I got some action out of a few!


I think this is ice from Lake Erie seen above. The Ice Boom is located there to prevent all but a small amount ice to enter the River. Removed in Spring, all the remaining ice comes floating down the Niagara River.




Maybe I need to pay more attention, but ducks really don’t do much (that is why I made up Duckdom). Geese either. I saw a few nibbling grass where it was not covered in snow, but not feeding on much else.


I have to admit, it almost is an obsession to know what they do all day. The little birds are active constantly it seems.


The park’s workers do not want the geese or gulls. Too much bird droppings. The gulls soil the lamp posts and railings. The geese, well just think what a few hundred of them do to where tourists walk.


Just enjoy whatever it is the ducks, geese and gulls are up to. They got me stumped, maybe you have some ideas. If I did not see some fly, I would think they do absolutely nothing all day.


Next post is Duckdom Part 2. Duckdom gets invaded and by whom you ask? Yes, something finally happened in Duckdom and I did not have to make it up!

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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44 Responses to What Do Ducks Do In Winter? See Them On the Niagara River

  1. franzisofie says:

    Great photos and interesting post! I didn’t know much about ducks. We have a few Canada gooses here over the winter but mostly they just lie on the fields and sleep. 🙂

  2. connie661 says:

    Love those ducks in flight!

  3. So many amazing images in this post. You absolutely nailed the images of them in flight.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    I have a group of ducks that fly over my house every day. They go to our cul de sac’s retention pond. There is a creek down below where I live so I think they just like go place to place and yeah–they do not seem to have much more going on..haha

  5. Same scenes here when river has openings for them. They do come up to my feeders when they are starving.

    • Your river has rapids? The Niagara is a wide river and very turbulent, but flow is controlled by the power authority. Right now the Ice Boom helps sculpt the scene. Most of the photos are taken way out in the river and the ducks are on ice flows. Lucky you that the ducks visit. It would not be very likely I would see a duck in my garden although I rescued one from being hit by a car and attacked by crows. I brought it home in my Jeep and set it in the garden. An hour later, it recovered from the shock and flew off.

      • no rapids here but ice flows and frozen solid some have actually lost their lives getting stuck in it. I counted over 100+ yesterday in a section of open water just a half a mile from my home but the ones who have their young here Mallards, wood ducks, Canadian Geese and Heron all know when things get too much they are safe here and waddle or fly up beside the back door. I do not go to the waters edge to ply them with feed they just come when they are so hungry they no longer fear human interaction I am glad I am here on those days.

        Yes I too would save a life such as you and clean later 🙂

  6. Hehehehe I love your obsession! It made me smile.

  7. pepaulmier says:

    Nice picture, Wow.

  8. Pat says:

    Ho-hum in Duckdom. Nice captures.

  9. Beautiful pictures of the ducks & geese. I loved the pictures of the mallards with their heads under the water. Such a bright orange webbed foot!

  10. Alistair says:

    Hi Donna
    I guess you would never get bored with all the goings on in duckdom, love the pictures.

  11. Bruce Goodman says:

    Beautiful photos. We have Canada geese here in New Zealand – and they can reach pest proportions in numbers. Literally thousands with no where to migrate to of course!

  12. janechese says:

    Some long tailed ducks, mallards, Goldeneye and Pintails overwinter here on the open water by the water treatment plant. The water stays open because the outflow is warm. Always see feathers and blood on the trail from the eagle that feeds on them and probably coyotes too. I like how they “troll”for whatever , as they fly upstream,land in the river then float down for a few thousand feet, then fly back upstream again, over and over. Liked seeing your photos.

  13. acuriousgal says:

    Duckdom , like a soap opera based on ducks….I love it!! I imagine they all have scandalous love affairs and say stuff behind each-other’s backs….much like human soap operas! Looking forward to your next episode!!!

  14. Roger Brook says:

    Fantastic pictures. I hope the ducks are ok in the appalling cold we are reading about over here and you too!

    • It is very cold and windy here. We are in the middle of a blizzard. This area last had a blizzard in 1993. No venturing outdoors with 3 inches of ice on the roads that will be covered in 3 feet of snow by tomorrow in places near here. We will get at least a foot or more.

  15. There’s something about Canada geese in flight–they’re so graceful. And the ducks are fun, too. I don’t feed the ducks at the lakes here, but I know a lot of people do. I don’t know if we have any open water around here after the “polar vortex,” but I’m thinking about the ducks, geese, chipmunks, turkeys, and other critters. There’s even a soft spot in my heart for rabbits today. How do they survive this stuff outside!

  16. Our neighborhood has a duck pond at a local park and we get some migrating ducks there every winter. Some years more than others, but always some. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  17. bittster says:

    Beautiful pictures again. I’m a little worried about who will visit the flocks in the next episode, it doesn’t sound like a friendly house call.
    Don’t get yourself arrested out there passing out bird seed! LOL

  18. In WInter, many of our resident wildlife reduce activity markedly to conserve energy in response to meager food supplies. This helps them retain body important body fat. So don’t expect much activity in Duckdom until grass and submerged vegetation becomes more available. Incredible photography, as usual. Do you give lessons? 🙂

    • I do know they reduce activity, but I was really surprised they were not even trying for food. One goose found a bare spot in the snow with a few blades of turf grass. I could see it was very hungry.

  19. Here they hang out in fields when there is a melt to get any corn that is left…and I especially see them as I drive along the Thruway to work. On the water though, you are right I just see them sitting.

  20. Kay says:

    Love the photos. I am wondering what kind of camera/lens you use to capture the flying ducks so clearly.

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