The Majestic Monthly


Issue 13: January 2006

In This Issue...


Park Rescue


Waterfowl Lice


Diurnal Birds of Prey


Get To Know Your Predators: The Golden Eagle


Calling All Fire Depts!


The Month in Photos!


Recommended Reading:
Manual of Ornithology


Reader Poll #13

Calling All Fire Departments!

Be a Water Sponsor Today!

When the rain stops, our feathered friends need support they can count on.

When our stream stops flowing in the heat of summer and our Courtyard pond begins to dry up, our flock needs some serious help. Water stagnation can pose a serious health threat to our ducks and geese.

To date, we have not found a fire dept willing to deliver water in exchange for a reasonable donation to assist the rescued animals in our 501(c)(3) sanctuary.  Instead, we have to pay hundreds of dollars to purchase our water from a supply company.

Can you help?   

Please contact us at


Recommended Reading*

| Ordering information |

Manual of Ornithology: Avian Structure and Function
By Noble S. Proctor

* For our full recommended reading list, click here. If you order from by way of our web site, Majestic receives a portion of the proceeds!

Book Description

This book -- a visual guide to the structure and anatomy of birds -- is one of the most heavily illustrated ornithology references ever written. A concise atlas of anatomy, it contains more than 200 specially prepared accurate and clear drawings that include material never illustrated before. The text is as informative as the drawings; written at a level appropriate to undergraduate students and to bird lovers in general, it discusses why birds look and act the way they do.

Designed to supplement a basic ornithology textbook, Manual of Ornithology covers systematics and evolution, topography feathers and flight, the skeleton and musculature, and the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, excretory reproductive, sensory, and nervous systems of birds, as well as field techniques for watching and studying birds. Each chapter concludes with a list of key references for the topic covered, with a comprehensive bibliography at the end of the volume. The book will be a guide and reference for every level of bird study - a basic tool for investigation for anyone curious about the fascinating world of birds.

Reader Poll #13

Question: How did you find Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary?

Angel Wings WF Rescue
Carolina WF Rescue
Lame Duck Rescue
Pet Rock
MSPCA/Nevins Farm
Waterfowl/Poultry Forum
Online Directory

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #12

What is your favorite part of the Majestic Monthly newsletter?

Health Articles 50%
Predator Articles 0%
"All About" Breed Articles 0%
"How To" Articles 50%
Updates on Ducks/Geese 0%
Featured Books 0%
Current Events/News 0%
Other 0%

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249


Our Newsletter

The Majestic Monthly is published 12 times per year. Back issues can be obtained online from our Newsletter Archives.


Park Rescue

We are so fortunate to have such wonderful volunteers on hand. The Yorks brought their kayak with them on our final visit to the Park. Jason chased the last of the Pekins to shore where Joe safely captured them in a net. Lew, Sharon, Chris and Bill all assisted in setting up nets, luring in ducks with food and loading ducks into carriers.

It may be cold, but our hearts were kept warm as we rescued the last of the Pekin ducks from the park. We are sincerely grateful for the generosity and devotion of concerned citizens Chris and Bill who assisted in many vital aspects of this rescue.

Thank you, everyone!

If you would like to join our waterfowl rescue team, you can sign up at: Waterfowl Rescue Volunteer.

Waterfowl Lice

Mites and lice should not be an issue for you if you are keeping your ducks in a clean environment with plenty of access to fresh water. If either of these pests appears, as indicated by excessive scratching, a visual sighting or vet confirmation, then this should be treated as a warning that you are not keeping things as clean as you should be for your ducks. You will need to increase your efforts. 

There are three common types of lice that can be found on waterfowl:

Head lice are gray and found close to the skin, near the base of head and neck feathers.

Body lice are brown and move around on the skin, commonly on the belly, around the vent or under the wings. They can commonly be seen running for cover when you part your duck’s feathers.

Shaft lice are like small body lice and they tend to hang out on feathers, and run inwards toward the duck’s skin when feathers are parted.

Lice chew dry skin scales and feathers. They don’t actually bite the duck, but the motion of their mouthparts leads to irritation. Mites are different from lice in that they suck blood. Treatment; however, is the same. 

You can purchase poultry powder at your local grain store. The label should indicate that it is appropriate for the removal of lice and mites on ducks. Sprinkle a bit in your hand and work it into the ducks feathers. Although you want to powder all over (avoiding the well around the eyes) focus the delousing at the base of the back of the neck, under the wings and on their underside, especially around the vent.

Ducks’ feathers need to be treated very carefully to avoid them from losing their waterproof effectiveness, so be very careful in administering these powders and use them sparingly. Delousing powder labels often have instructions on how to apply them to the duck’s bedding, have never found this useful since lice die soon after falling off of their hosts and therefore tend to cling tightly, rather than thriving in hay or bedding.

If you discover lice or mites on any one of your ducks, assume they exist throughout the flock. Treat all flock members according to the instructions on the label. Be careful not to over do it, so the animal does not ingest excess amounts of this pesticide. It is always advisable to double check dosages with your own vet before administering treatment.

All waterfowl that come into Majestic receive a careful feather inspection and a precautionary treatment of poultry dust. We have seen lice die and fall off within 24 hours of powder treatment. Follow up weekly treatments at day 7 and day 14, access to clean water and clean bedding are also necessary until all eggs have hatched and all lice have been eradicated.

Diurnal Birds of Prey

Eagles, hawks and falcons are all diurnal raptors—birds who hunt during the day. If your ducks do not have top cover, they will be at the mercy of these predators. Most attacks occur on free range ducks, especially when they are in open areas with no bushes, trees or houses to provide shelter.

If you see a one of these flying predators near a kill site, it does not necessarily mean they brought your duck to its demise. You will need to examine the area carefully in order to determine if the raptor was the culprit or if they are just a scavenger. Diurnal raptors pluck out a duck’s feathers before consuming it, so their beak marks can often be found on the shafts of the plucked feathers. In addition, if the base of a plucked feather is smooth and clean, the bird was plucked while warm. If the feathers have small amounts of tissue clinging to their bases, they were plucked from a cold bird that died of another cause and the raptor was just scavenging. Take a look around the site; raptors will often defecate in the immediate area of a kill they’ve made. 

The best defense against raptors is a well-built enclosure with sufficiently strong aviary netting on top. Hawks will attack through netting if they can push down on it far enough to get to your ducks, so choose your top cover carefully. Guinea fowl will sound an alarm when any large bird flies overhead, so they can help warn the flock of incoming trouble. Raptors are commonly seen being chased away by families or flocks of crows, so another strategy to deter them is to put out food for your crows to encourage them to settle nearby. This is a great way of keeping your skies clear of trouble.

All eagles are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits their possession or destruction. No permits are required to merely scare them off with your presence except in the case of an endangered or threatened species, as in the case of the bald and golden eagles. Check your own state’s laws and regulations prior to taking any actions against these birds.

Predator of The Month: The Golden Eagle

We have decided to feature this next predator to remind duck owners of the threat that they pose to waterfowl. We have seen a Golden Eagle here in Lebanon Connecticut, perched upon one of our corner sanctuary posts two years ago. Fortunately, we have top wire over our enclosures, so the ducks were completely safe. We would like to send our deepest condolences to the Connecticut family who recently lost two of their ducks due to a swift attack of a Golden Eagle. The raptor dropped down from the sky and made a swift kill before they could reach their feathered friends.

The Golden Eagle weighs in between 6 and 13 pounds, with females being larger than males. We have seen a golden eagle perched on one of the corner posts of our aviary. I had never seen or heard of anyone in Connecticut seeing one first hand prior to that day, which just goes to show you that uncommon predators can pass through your property and take advantage of an easy meal. A strong aviary net saved our flock, but we know of a couple of families who have lost their free range / back yard ducks to these raptors, not knowing that they were at risk of a visitation.

       Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with any guidance provided on this website. Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state or municipal law or regulation with which such guidance may conflict. Any guidance is general in nature. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any specific circumstances.

© Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary 2006