River Garden Farms is proud to be participating in California Waterfowl Association’s (CWA) Egg Salvage and Duck Rescue program. According to CWA, California’s waterfowl populations are declining, due in part to habitat loss caused by such factors as “urban sprawl, development, changing agricultural practices, and extreme weather events.” The Egg Salvage and Duck Rescue Program is their initiative to work towards reversing this trend.
Ducks, including teal, gadwall, woodies, and mallards, establish nests in our wheat fields to take advantage of the safety cover they provide. During a harvest or mow, a mother duck will remain with and protect her eggs until the last possible moment that the equipment approaches. At this point her own survival instinct takes over and she flees the nest, with the abandoned eggs subsequently destroyed by the machines. As part of the Egg Salvage Program, when moving our machinery through the fields, our operators are on the look-out for a duck’s very abrupt, sudden take-offs. Once the phenomenon is observed, the machines are stopped and the area is combed looking for the nests. The eggs we find are carefully collected and placed in egg cartons up and taken back to our main office, where the eggs sit in an temperature- and humidity-controlled incubator until team members from the CWA retrieve them. The rescued eggs are then transported to hatcheries, where they are incubated, hatched, reared, and released into the wild. The CWA reports that nearly 50,000 ducks have been saved in the last 10 years!