Easter season is upon us and that means cute chicks and ducklings, some given as gifts. Not long after Easter, the duck dumping at local parks and lakes begin. Domestic ducks have been bred to be around people and rely on humans to take care of them. Many of the natural instincts of these ducks are bred out or muted, so they are ineffective at foraging. Most can't fly and escape predators. Females that are dumped usually die the next breeding season. It's important for people to help these ducks as soon as they are found abandoned. Domestic ducks live short, brutal lives and often wreak havoc on wild populations by killing females and creating hybrid ducks that sometimes can't fly and forage.
One thing one should do is familiarize themselves with the individual ducks at their lake or park before attempting a rescue. Also, get to know the caretakers and staff in the area. This will help you differentiate between the newly dumped ducks and the ones that have been there a while and would not be as easy to find homes for. Ducks that have been feral (living out in the wild) for a while tend to be more nervous and less easy to handle.
Many people don't know the difference between a wild duck and a domestic ones. All wild duck species can fly. Not a single wild species is incapable of flying unless they're injured or molting. Some domestic ducks can fly, but most can't. Wild ducks tend to be less bulky and smaller than domestic ducks. Here is a list of several types of ducks. First, the most common wild ducks in San Diego will be listed, then the domestic ducks