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What Ducks Like

Attracting waterfowl to shallow-lake habitat
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Ducks are attracted to clean shallow lakes with limited or no fish. The lake should have abundant fresh water shrimp, wild rice and other aquatic plants like sago pondweed.

Lake Odessa, Minn.

Ducks prefer lakes that cycle through periods of low water that encourage regrowth of beneficial emergent and aquatic plants and keep fish numbers down.

Vegetation growth after draw down of lake water level. Diamond Lake, Iowa.


Ducks use shallow lakes in Minnesota and Iowa primarily during migration. In the spring and fall, migrating ducks and other wetland birds stop to replenish energy reserves before beginning the next leg of their journey.

Many diving ducks frequent the shallow lakes of Minnesota and Iowa including scaup, ring-necked duck, redhead and canvasback. Dabblers such as mallard, blue-winged teal, northern shoveler and northern pintail are also attracted to the lakes. Other marsh birds including egrets, herons and shorebirds depend on shallow lakes as well.

Scaup on shallow lake


Scaup use shallow lakes extensively during migration. Scaup depend on freshwater shrimp in the lakes to maintain their strength and weight as they travel to the breeding grounds.

Amphipod, an important food for migrating waterfowl in shallow lakes

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Related:  living lakes

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