Out in the UK wilderness, there are plenty of species you can expect to come across. These can include badgers, grey squirrels, hares and more. Even the noble hedgehog can come scuttling into your garden from time to time. However, did you know that from a survey of 1,000 people, a third of people have never seen a hedgehog? 

If only a third of people have seen a hedgehog, imagine how many really know exactly what species can be found in the UK? 82% of people are unaware of what’s really out there in the wild. Read on for things you didn’t know about UK wildlife and species you may come across – if you’re lucky!

Whale of a Time

Well, for starters – killer whales can be found in the UK. Whether that’s unnerving or exciting to you, these giant orcas can be found in the north and west of Scotland, with sightings also recorded in the northern section of the North Sea. You can expect to see these outstanding predators around British shores between April to October,and if you’re quick, you may even be able to get a picture to treasure the moment forever.


Next up, coatis. That’s right, the native american mammal, that’s the size of a house-cat, and hangs about in trees? That one. They’re in the UK too.

A common theory is that a pair of coatis escaped captivity, made it into the wild and reproduced. Another theory is that they were released into the UK wild in a small, controlled way. They’ve been spotted across Cumbria and even as far down as Buckinghamshire! They have clear distinctive features such as a ringed tail, and a long flexible nose that probes around under leaves and between rocks for any chance of food. Also, when they’re asleep, they tuck their nose into their belly – now come on, how sweet is that! 

If You Wallaby My Lover

Now you must be thinking we’re going hopping mad, right? First killer whales, then coatis, now wallabies? Surely not! Well… it’s a hat-trick! Plenty of Australia’s finest have been spotted in the UK, with the largest number of recorded sightings being in Chiltern, southern England. They’re notoriously fast, and can jump plenty of obstacles which explains why so many are still out and about in the wild, all whilst carrying their young in their pouches, much like other marsupials.

As a result of their rarity, they are popular for zoos and wildlife parks, as well as petting zoos and small tourist attractions. 

Golden Eagles – Numbers Soaring for Scotland’s Top Predator

With a track record for hunting rabbits, hares and large birds like grouse, the golden eagle takes its place as the top countryside predator. Seen soaring high in the north and west of Scotland, the national bird of both Germany and Mexico can have large nests that are then used for generations, as golden eagles make sure to pair for life. 

Fight or Flight – How Birds Bodies Have Adapted For Flight

Did you know that birds have a much stronger heart than other mammals? Small bird’s hearts beat faster than big birds. A chicken’s resting heartbeat is at approximately 250bpm, a house sparrow at 460bpm, and during flight, a small bird’s heart rises to approximately 1,000bpm. 

They also have special air sacs with hollow bones that allows oxygen to flow through the body more easily, meaning that a bird’s breath is actually doing a lot more work than a mammal’s breath, despite the clear size difference. Because of the constant flow of air, birds have the capability to function properly while flying through the air. Their hollow bones make their body surprisingly light, which means their bones are stronger than a mammal’s, without actually being heavier. Their skeletons have two collarbones which join together in a brace – commonly known as the wishbone. This gives their body the capability to cope with the stress of flying. 

Draw a Line in the Sand – Sand Lizards in the UK

An extremely rare species that you wouldn’t expect outside of a sandy dune, you can find instead in the isolated areas of Dorset, Lancashire, Hampshire and more. Sporting a green and black speckled coat that turns bright green as mating season approaches, the reptile paints a distinctive figure you certainly wouldn’t expect to see in the British woodlands. 

This certainly shows there are plenty of weird and wonderful species across the UK for you to spot across the UK, although it’s encouraged that those listed above are best viewed from a distance! 

Summer is the best time of year for hedgehog lovers.They are often most active around this time so you are likely to spot them roaming around your garden when they’re hungry and looking for a tasty meal!

Here at WildThings, we have put together the top 5 hedgehog habits and the signs you need to look out for.


Hedgehogs begin mating between the months of April and June, but they may also mate beyond this time. You will definitely won’t miss two hedgehogs mating as this is a very noisy activity! A tell tale sign that a male hedgehog is trying to mate is when they circle around the female, this can sometimes last for hours and involves lots of loud grunting noises as they try to convince the female. 


Once mating is complete and has resulted in a pregnancy, the pregnant female will start to create a nest for her and the hoglets to live in for the next 4-6 weeks. Female hedgehogs are usually pregnant for 30 to 40 days allowing her time to create the perfect nest before they arrive. They don’t stay in the nest long as at 6 weeks old hoglets begin to become more independent and will start to head out with their mother to search for food. Summer is primetime to spot baby hoglets roaming around!


At the start of spring, hedgehogs will be very hungry! This is especially true if they have come out of hibernation early, as natural food sources will be scarce due to the slowly rising temperatures. As the weather gets warmer and we head into the summer months, it’s the perfect time for hedgehogs to chow down on creepy crawlies and put on some fat stores. A hedgehog’s natural diet consists of earwigs, beetles, worms and other insects. You can give hedgehogs a helping hand in the summer by leaving out some supplementary food and fresh water in your garden for them.

 When you see hedgehogs foraging for food they will do this through undergrowth, leaf litter and by digging. This allows them to eat whatever suitable food they can find. Hedgehogs are very messy eaters so you should be able to spot if they’ve paid you a visit.You may also find an upside down bowl every so often too.  


When looking for a nesting site, hedgehogs will look for a place that has natural materials such as leaves, hay or straw. You can help hedgehogs by leaving piles of leaves and logs and rewilding a section of your garden. Rewilding is leaving a section of your garden and allowing nature to take over. The great thing about providing materials such as leaves and logs is that hedgehogs can then use this to create their nests.

Summer is an important time to be looking out for hedgehogs and their nests before undertaking any gardening activities (like strimming, for example)  as this can cause serious harm. The common nesting spots include leaves, under sheds/outbuildings and in hedgerows. 

How can you help?

Here are a few things you can do to help hedgehogs in your local area:

  • Leave out WildThings Food and fresh water
  • Don’t over tidy your garden
  • Create your own hedgehog house and feeding station
  • Make your garden easily accessible with a hedgehog highway 
  • Grow native plants

To keep up with hedgehog habits and activity throughout the year, follow us on Facebook or Instagram where we share tips and advice.

Picture the scene: It’s a crisp summer evening and you’re enjoying a nice walk down the canal. Suddenly, a swarm of angry geese blocks your path. What do you do? Many people aren’t actually sure if geese are dangerous or not and many would simply turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Here at WildThings, we take a closer look at geese behaviour and answer the question everyone is dying to know; are geese actually dangerous? 

Why do geese act out aggressively?

If you’ve ever wondered why geese seem to be so angry, there’s actually a very good reason. They act out aggressively as they’re very protective of their young and don’t like sharing space with humans or other animals. If they feel their eggs or goslings are under threat, they’ll do everything in their power to keep them safe. If that means a fight, so be it. 

Can geese actually hurt you?

Humans are very rarely attacked by geese, but it does happen. They’re very territorial animals and can certainly cause injury if they do decide to attack you. Geese may bite or hit you with their exceptionally strong wings and can occasionally cause a serious injury. Don’t worry, they usually only attack when provoked, so as long as you respect their boundaries you should be fine. 

What should you do if you cross paths with a gaggle of geese? 

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. If possible, try to give the gaggle a wide berth when passing and make sure to do so slowly, in a non-threatening way. The gaggle of geese will most certainly keep a close eye on you as you pass but as long as you don’t do anything to escalate the situation, your walk should remain uneventful. 

What should I do if I’m attacked by geese?

Firstly, don’t panic and try to display a calm demeanour towards your attacker. Don’t respond by hitting back or raising your voice, as this will likely aggravate the goose more. It’s crucial that you stand your ground and maintain eye contact with the goose, with your body facing them. Running away or turning your back will only prolong the attack. Standing your ground is the best way to get the goose to back off. 

So, are geese actually dangerous?

The simple answer is, yes, they can be. Geese like their own space and aren’t a massive fan of humans. Normally, if you mind your own business, they’ll mind theirs. Having said that, if a goose feels threatened, they can cause harm to the perceived threat so it’s always worth keeping this in mind. Ultimately, geese are wild animals and we should all do our best to give them space and respect their boundaries.


Want to treat your local geese? Shop duck and swan food online at WildThings. 

Ever wondered what squirrels get up to when nobody is around? They may be one of the most common garden critters in the UK, but squirrels are remarkable rodents and are full of surprises. Sure, they bury nuts and steal bird feed, but we’re willing to bet there’s a thing or two about these beloved animals that you didn’t know. Read on to find out all about the secret life of squirrels…

1. Squirrels are den builders, and they build their dens (or ‘dreys’) out of twigs and branches. They can be found in the hollow of a tree or even in an attic or barn if the opportunity arises.


2. A squirrel’s diet consists mainly of nuts, fungi and berries. They also love chowing down  on different kinds of fruit and are even known to eat bark and sap!


3. Squirrels are active all year round and are very good at adapting to warm and cold temperatures. In winter their fur grows thicker to keep them warm and they are able to use their tail as shelter from the rain. 


4. Squirrels are extremely intelligent animals with superb memories. There are documented instances of squirrels remembering human beings.


5. The average lifespan of a squirrel is 2-6 years in the wild. Survival is largely based on the availability of autumn-winter tree seeds. In captivity, they have been known to live for up to 10 years.


6. Squirrels have two breeding seasons; the first litters are normally born in late February and March and the second litters are usually born between June and July. The average litter size is 3 or 4.


7. The reason we don’t see baby squirrels is because they don’t leave the nest until they are fully furred and able to survive independently. This can take 2-3 months so once you spot one it will likely look similar to an adult.


8. Squirrels communicate using a wide range of calls, such as territorial barks and ‘quacking’ noises, but their main form of communication is through the use of their tails. Their tails act as signalling devices, twitching them if they become suspicious of a threat.


9. Squirrels are one of the most important animals for helping the spread of oak trees. They store acorns in the ground but only recover around 70 per cent of them, allowing the forgotten acorns to grow into healthy trees.


10. The red squirrel is officially classed as ‘near threatened’ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The loss of woodland over the last century, increased road traffic and predators are all contributing to their extinction.   

If you are lucky enough to have red squirrels visiting your garden there are some steps you can take to make life easier for them. Provide a little extra food, plant some red squirrel-friendly shrubs (such as brambles, crab apple and hawthorn) and report any squirrel activity to The Wildlife Trusts

Have you spotted any squirrels recently? Follow us on our socials and share your pictures with us.

Looking for something to do with the kids during the summer holidays? Why not build a hedgehog cafe!

By feeding the hungry hogs in your garden, you’re helping them build the energy they need to raise their hoglets and gain fat stores for their long winter hibernation. With hedgehogs in the UK at risk of extinction, it’s vital that we give our spiky friends a safe place to eat and rest. One great way to do this is to build a feeding station in your garden with lots of hedgehog food and fresh water!

What you will need to build your hedgehog café: 

Large plastic or wooden box 

Hacksaw or strong scissors*

Strong, thick tape

2 bricks or large stones

Shallow dishes

Hedgehog Food 


Our simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose a quiet spot in your garden to place your cafe, ensuring the area is in relatively close proximity to your ‘hedgehog highway’ (a small hole cut into your fence which allows hedgehogs to come and go as they please). 

  1. Carefully cut a 13cmx13cm/4.5’’x4.5’’ hole in one side of the box. This will be your hedgehog entrance point. You can also install a tunnel to prevent cats or foxes stealing the food.

  1. If using a plastic box, ensure that all sharp edges are covered with thick tape. This will ensure that the hedgehog will not be harmed by any sharp bits.

  1. Turn the box upside down and place your WildThings Hedgehog Food and water at the furthest point away from the hedgehog entrance.

  1. Place a brick or other heavy object on top of the plastic box to ensure that the box does not fall over or move and expose the hedgehog and its food. This will also stop foxes or cats from tipping the box up or dragging it away. 

Now it’s time to spot your spiky visitor! Keep a close lookout as the sun goes down and you may just be rewarded with a hedgehog snuffling away at the delicious food in your café. 

Eating enough before hibernation is very important and this is when supplementary feeding can prove vital for any hedgehog’s survival. So, there is no better time than the present to start building your hedgehog feeding station!

For more ideas on how you can help your local hedgehogs, follow us on social media. 

*Please always be careful when using sharp objects. Children should seek assistance from a parent or guardian.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Zoe Duffin, who manages the Instagram account of the spectacular ‘Long Boi’. This feathery bad boy has made a huge splash on social media, amassing more than 30,000 Instagram followers amazed by his size.  Long Boi, who lives on the University of York campus, waddled onto Twitter and Reddit when users spotted him and believed him to be the tallest mallard duck to have ever lived.According to Long Boi’s Instagram, he is a cross between a Mallard and an Indian runner, which is why he has grown to 70cm tall. 

We chatted to Zoe to find out more:

What makes Long Boi so special?

Long Boi really does stand out from the crowd. He’s unusually tall and towers over all the other ducks on campus. He’s the only ‘long duck’ on campus so he’s very unique. He has always been loved by both staff and students here at the university, but his fame has sky-rocketed in recent weeks and he now has fans all over the world!

How did you first discover Long Boi and what made you set up his Instagram page? 

I first saw Long Boi in my first year of university. My accommodation block at the time was situated in front of the campus lake and I began noticing him on a regular basis. Some friends and I coined the name ‘Long Boi’ due to his stature and regularly went out to feed him and take pictures of him. We decided to make him his own Instagram account as we realised that he was a very unique looking duck. The resident waterfowl are a huge part of university life here at York, so we hoped that he would be popular with other students! 

I have always had an interest in animals and have had pet ducks of my own, so I recognised that Long Boi was part Indian Runner duck. This is a domestic breed, meaning that it’s likely he was left on campus as an unwanted pet. Luckily, we have a fantastic grounds team on campus, who ensure that all the ducks and geese are well cared for, no matter how short or tall they may be. Long Boi and his friends are big fans of WildThings Swan & Duck Food!  

We see Long Boi now has his own range of merch! What does the future hold for him?

Long Boi does indeed have his own merch, ranging from Long Boi themed stickers and badges, to branded t-shirts and socks! I designed all the artwork for Long Boi’s merch line myself and I’m always trying to come up with new artwork ideas. In the future, perhaps Long Boi will look beyond merch towards bigger aspirations…his fans think he should star in his own movie! 

How do you think Long Boi can inspire people to get more involved with their local wildlife?

Due to his internet fame, Long Boi has definitely encouraged people to get outdoors and involved with their local wildlife. I’ve seen a lot of people coming to campus (which is open to the public and a lovely spot for walks!) specifically to see him, not only from the York area, but from all over the country! Whilst looking on campus for Long Boi, people are able to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and are able to meet some of our other resident waterfowl, including ducks, geese, moorhens, coots, swans and much more! Long Boi’s growing online presence has the potential to educate his followers about nature and other wild birds, and hopefully encourage people to visit their local parks and wildlife areas to see if they can spot their own ‘Long Boi’. 

If you’re heading out to find your local ‘Long Boi’ why not take some WildThings Swan & Duck Food with you? It’s a tasty and nutritional alternative to bread! 

Summer is arguably the most beautiful season of the year. In the warmer months, the nights get shorter and the days get hotter, with nature in full bloom and an array of amazing smells wafting through the air! Summer is one of the most active times of the year for animals, bursting at the seams with life.

Summer is the perfect time of year for taking an active interest in Wildlife. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:


Swifts spend almost their entire life soaring the skies and migrate all the way from Africa to the UK during the summer. They race, rise, fall, and scream while flying, giving the countryside a spectacular performance. In recent years, their numbers have plummeted. To help protect the species, you can build a swift nest box where they can nurse their chicks. Keep an eye out for these amazing birds from July to August!


At the start of summer, the bumblebee ‘worker’ females will work both inside and outside the nest. You will see them on the hunt for nectar and pollen, hovering from flower to flower. You can’t miss their bright yellow bodies and their distinctive buzzing sound. These tiny creatures are a bee-utiful sight to behold.


Squirrels are active during the day, foraging for food in trees and on the ground. They will also happily visit your garden peanut feeders if you’re kind enough to supply them. In summer, squirrels are always on the lookout for a nice bit of shade and enjoy lying flat out with their bellies pressed against the ground. This helps them cool down and maintain high levels of activity throughout the day, even on the hottest days. 


Summer is the best time for foxes as there is plenty of food available, meaning cubs have an easier time learning how to hunt. Foxes will use their sense of smell to find prey and you may see them with their noses down, checking for scents. You can help out the nation’s foxes by shopping at our WildThings fox food range here.


Most hedgehogs are born in June and July, which means they have the rest of summer to learn how to find food. Insects, like earwigs and beetles, thrive in summer and provide a feast for foraging hoglets. Don’t forget to leave a dish of fresh water out every evening to help the hogs stay hydrated while it’s warm. Our Hedgehog food will also go down a treat; click this way to shop now.

What animals have you spotted this summer? Follow us on our socials and share your pictures with us.

Recently, fox sightings have been on the rise, which means you may have spotted a few of these bushy-tailed animals trotting around your garden. Here at WildThings, we think foxes are fascinating animals. Read on for 10 facts about foxes that just may surprise you: 

1. Foxes are great night-time predators

Their eyes are specially adapted to be able to see in the dark. Behind the light sensitive cells lies another layer called the tapetum lucidum which reflects light back through the eye. This doubles the intensity of what the fox can see, making them excellent at catching prey.

2. Foxes are considered to be solitary animals

Unlike other members of the canine family, foxes are not considered to be pack animals. Foxes tend to live by themselves or in small family groups called a “skulk”, which typically includes the mother fox and around 6 cubs.  

3. Foxes can make over 40 different sounds

If you’ve ever heard those scream like howls you will probably know the type of sounds we are talking about. Foxes can make a variation of screams, barks, and howls that can range from high pitched tones to lower tones to communicate different things.

4. Foxes make use of the earth’s magnetic field to hunt

Researchers have found that foxes are the first animals in the world to use the earth’s magnetic fields to judge the distance and direction of their prey. They can use this to their advantage when hunting for small animals located in high grass.

5. People used to fear foxes but they are actually considered friendly animals

Most fox species are known to be friendly, curious and playful whilst amongst other foxes and animals. There is also a long history of foxes playing with humans and bonding with them too. Foxes have been known to play with balls and will often take them from golf courses and gardens.

6. Foxes only reproduce once a year

Foxes breed only once a year and mating usually occurs in January or early February. The vixen (female fox) then remains pregnant for around 60 days and will birth a typical litter of 4 – 6 cubs around March or April. 

7. Baby foxes are unable to see, walk or thermoregulate when they are born

Mothers will typically nurse their cubs for the first two months of their lives until they develop these functions. Meanwhile, the male fox will go out and hunt for the family. The mother stays with the cubs in the den for around three weeks before the cubs venture out with their mother for the first time. 

8. Foxes don’t just live in rural areas, they also live in cities

This is due to the wide availability of food and shelter in towns or cities. Urban foxes tend to dig their dens in the earth underneath bushes or garden sheds. Some also dig underneath tree roots and railway embankments. 

9. Foxes have a very varied diet

Foxes are expert hunters, catching rabbits, rodents, birds, frogs and earthworms. But they aren’t carnivores – they are actually omnivores as they dine on berries and fruit too. If you are thinking of feeding your garden foxes, WildThings Fox & Badger Food is specially formulated to contain all the nutrients a fox needs.

10. Foxes have impeccable hearing

Researchers found that foxes have excellent low-frequency hearing. They can hear a watch ticking from 36 meters away and even hear rodents digging underground!


Want to find out more about all the wonderful wildlife the UK has? Follow us on social media today.

Curious about what badgers get up to? Here at WildThings, we answer all your burning questions about what they eat, where they sleep and how they spend their time. Read on for tales from the woods; a badger’s life.

Where do badgers sleep?

Badgers live way underground in a network of intersecting tunnels, known as a ‘sett’. Setts can range in size and complexity enormously; some can measure up to 100 metres with up to 50 separate entrances! Badger families tend to live together within these setts and a social group living together in the same sett is known as a ‘clan’. They all work together and they extend and enlarge their living quarters as they see fit. Setts take a long time to build and are usually passed down from generation to generation, with some setts being over 100 years old! 

Within the setts, badgers make nests out of dry grass, straw and dead leaves, which make lovely cosy beds for them to sleep in. These nests, as well as being underground, help them stay nice and warm in the winter months and safe from predators. 

What do badgers eat?

A badger’s diet is pretty varied. They forage for seeds and berries and are also known to chow down on earthworms, frogs, rodents, birds, insects and eggs. Occasionally, they may eat a hedgehog if they are unable to find other sources of food, but this is rare. The decline in hedgehog populations has occasionally been blamed on badgers but in reality, this is actually due to the destruction of hedgehogs’ natural habitats. 

Do badgers hibernate?

It’s a common myth that badgers hibernate during the winter months. While they may not actually hibernate, they do reduce their activity to a massive degree in order to preserve fat stores. That’s why the autumn months are usually dedicated to eating as much as possible, in order to accumulate the fat stores needed to see them through the winter. 

Do badgers come out during the day?

Badgers are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and wake up at night. Some time during the early evening, badgers begin to sniff the air at the entrance of their sett, ready for a long night of playing, foraging and socialising with their friends. 

The actual time badgers leave their sett is dependent on the time of year and what time the sun goes down. In the summer, they may actually emerge before it goes dark as they need time to find food when the nights are short. In winter, you probably won’t spot a badger until well after dark. 

When do badgers have babies?

Badgers can mate at any time during the year but birth normally occurs between January and March, after 6-7 weeks of gestation. Unlike most animals, badgers can actually delay implantation of a fertilised egg, which means that some female badgers can have a litter a year after mating. Badgers can have between one and five cubs in a litter and these cubs tend to live underground for the first twelve weeks of their lives. 

How can I recognise a badger? 

Badgers are very distinctive animals. With their black and white striped faces, short tail and grey fur, they are unmistakable when you spot one. They have long snouts and exceptionally sharp claws, which are particularly useful for all the digging they do!  

Badgers have unique footprints with five claws and base pads on each paw. This is very different from a fox’s footprint, for example, which is more like that of a dog. 


Badger setts are also very distinctive. The entrances are generally the shape of a sideways ‘D’, as opposed to a circular hole and doesn’t narrow within the entrance, unlike rabbit holes. There are several signs you can look out for that indicate a badger sett is active:

  • Smooth sides around the entrances, which are the result of repeated use
  • Signs of runs radiating out of the entrances
  • Fresh ‘bedding’ near the entrances (such as leaves, hay and grass)
  • Freshly excavated soil heaps near the entrances
  • Signs of footprints or claw marks near the entrances

How can we help badgers?

The best thing you can do to help your local badgers is to leave food out for them. Leaving food out in the summer helps them accumulate fat to survive the winter and leaving food out during the colder months offers a much needed food source when badgers may struggle to find the sustenance they need. You can shop for high quality, nutritious badger food right here at WildThings. Don’t forget to leave out a bowl of fresh water too in case the badgers are feeling a bit parched. 

If you spot a badger out during the day, it may be ill or injured. Badgers are wild animals so make sure you keep your distance and call the RSPCA who will advise what you should do next.

Want to find out more about all the wonderful wildlife the UK has? Follow us on social media today.

If feeding the ducks at your local pond is one of your favourite pastimes, then you may be curious about the little fluffy ducklings you see each spring. Read on to find out more about the secret lives of ducklings…

Duckling eggs

The life of a duck follows a yearly cycle. Ducklings that hatched the year before return to their birthing ground to lay eggs and begin the new life cycle.

Once a female duck has laid her eggs, she will remain in her nest sitting securely so that   she blends perfectly into the background. A female duck will rarely leave the nest once her eggs have been laid, apart from short breaks to feed and stretch her legs.

After roughly 28 days, the eggs will hatch together which takes around 24 hours. Once hatched, the ducklings stay in their nests for at least 10 hours while they dry and get used to using their legs. 

Their first plight usually happens early in the morning when the female duck leads her ducklings to water. The trip can be delayed due to bad weather, however, the sooner the ducklings get to the water to feed, the better the chances of survival.

Baby ducklings

Ducklings cannot survive without their mother and take 50-60 days before they fledge (fly) and become independent. During this time, they remain under their mother’s supervision. they are able to swim and catch their own food but it can take a few tries for them to learn what is edible and what isn’t.

At this point the nest is often abandoned, although if it is close to the water the family may continue to use it for brooding and roosting, Baby ducklings still need the warmth of their mother’s down feathers, so she snuggles them to keep them warm.

Mallard ducks must also be protected by their mothers from other full-grown Mallards, as they tend to kill unfamiliar ducks that wander into their family grouping.

After the 50-60 days spent under the watchful eye of the female duck, the ducklings are able to fly and can leave the protection of the brood.

Teenage ducklings

By autumn, the now teenage ducklings are on their own and ready for two important events – moulting and migration. Part of a ducks life cycle, moulting is the replacing of old feathers which can leave the ducklings vulnerable to predators as they are unable to fly until their new feathers have grown. This process can take from two to three weeks.

Once molting is complete, they are able to fly again and the ducks migrate to warmer climates ready for the winter. This is a new experience for the ducklings who have not yet wandered far from where they hatched. The mother duck is at hand to assist the new migrants in finding and settling into the wintering habit. 

Britain will be the destination of choice for many ducks from colder parts of Europe and it is here they take up their winter residency.

Adult ducks

During the winter period and after the teenage ducklings have accomplished their first migration, the once small, fluffy ducklings are now adults and will spend their time in the southerly climates eating and storing reserves ready for the long flight back to their breeding grounds. Once they arrive home, the now adult ducks will be looking for a mating partner and nesting site ready for the arrival of some new baby ducks! And so begins the life cycle of a duckling again.


Although many people believe that ducklings should be given bread to feed on, their favourite foods include seeds, aquatic vegetation, acorns, berries, plants, insects and shellfish. While ducks may enjoy eating your leftover loaf, this can actually harm them and contribute to water pollution. At WildThings we are working to help spread the message about the harm that bread can cause with our Better Than Bread campaign. This doesn’t mean that your favourite pastime has to stop; you can still feed them frozen peas, sweetcorn, lettuce or a specialised duck food such as WildThings Swan and Duck Food

Have you visited your local pond lately to see if you have any spring arrivals? Make sure you share pictures with us on our social channels.