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Ducks have adapted remarkably well to urban environments, with many of them making their homes on balconies and roof terraces. These spaces provide a sheltered spot for them to breed and raise their young. However, once the ducklings hatch, the journey to a nearby lake or river can be perilous.

Marc Engler and his team at the NABU Berlin wild bird centre have been working tirelessly to assist mallard ducks in their relocation. Their efforts have been met with an increasing number of requests for help, indicating that ducks breeding close to humans are more common than previously believed. Last year alone, they received reports of 200 mallard broods in need of relocation.

While this relocation assistance is crucial for the survival of the ducklings, there is a potential downside. The ducks may become reliant on this service in the long run, losing their natural instincts and becoming too accustomed to human intervention. Engler suggests that an ideal solution would be for people to actively discourage ducks from breeding on their balconies by frequently occupying these spaces.

By promoting human presence, ducks may be deterred from nesting in urban settings and encouraged to seek out more suitable habitats. This would enable them to maintain their natural behaviors and increase their chances of survival without excessive reliance on human assistance.

Ultimately, the challenge lies in finding a balance between supporting urban duck populations and allowing them to thrive in their natural habitats. Through education and proactive measures, we can foster a harmonious coexistence with these resilient and adaptable creatures.