[Mnbird] gob smacked # of mallards

DONALD GRUSSING Owner cdrussin at centurylink.net
Sun Mar 5 10:00:01 CST 2023

Mallards have been wintering on 9 mile creek for decades.  It began when a plastics company (Thermotech) had a warm water pond on the front of its property, the water coming from cooling systems of some kind in the firm's manufacturing. My toddler daughters and I used to go there on Sundays and throw some millet out for them. That was 50 years ago. I believe some water from that company still keeps the creek open.

These birds know the area and there are residents in Minnetonka and elsewhere that feed them.  I have seen large circling flocks near Williston Road and Excelsior Boulevard late in the day for decades.
For many years flocks dropped to residences near Mckenzie Road in Minnetonka.  These mallards also go to open water on Minnehaha creek all winter, though not as many and few spending the evening.  They could get to spots near the Minnesota River quite easily (Sewage treatment lagoon-).  At flight speeds of 40-50 mph it is not a long trip.

Lake Minnetonka has several aerators that provide open water and are visited by mallards during daylight hours. Perhaps a predatory mink frighted them from their favorite spot on 9 Mile creek for a few nights. No doubt they will be there for much of the rest of the year and summer.

For several years a female mallard nested inside the parking ramp that once stood where your building or a neighboring building now stands on 9th Ave. North next to the post office.

Don Grussing

On Sat, 4 Mar, 2023 at 7:37 PM, John Hamer via Mnbird <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net> wrote:

To: mnbird at lists.mnbird.net

We moved into an apartment in Hopkins.  We are on the 9th floor, NW facing windows.  To my surprise we started seeing mallards coming by our windows in singles and doubles and in every combination In the last half hour of light I would count 50 t0 60 birds right through the winter. Being new here I had no idea where they were coming from or where they were going.  I was filling up the car at a gas station and there were mallards all over the place coming in, going out and I could figure out where they were coming from.  It was a place on 9 mile creek.  They were mostly just sitting on the shore.  There were a couple of houses where they were sitting.  I suspect corn.  Then a couple 3, 4 weeks  ago it went dead.  No birds anywhere.  Must have run out of corn. Only in the last few days have I started seeing them again. Before they all left I tried to count them in batches like you would for big flocks flying.  I estimated 5 to 6 hundred birds.  Where did they go after the corn ran out?  Because they are coming back they must not have all died.  One of these days I am going to go talk to the people I suspect were feeding them.  At one time if my memory is still good I read that the MN DNR estimates 50,000 mallards stay around the metro area.  Before I moved here in winters past I would see ducks on different parts of nine mile creek.

Sorry for so long.  We have also seen mature bald eagles flying past the windows all winter.

John Hamer
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