In answer to concerns about the ducks on Ballston Lake, we’ve been advised:
“Neither wood ducks nor mallards are considered invasive in New York State. They can occasionally become a nuisance species for people living near the shores of water bodies, but they are not harmful to the ecosystem.
Mallard ducks are a species native to North America and actually help water bodies that are infested with invasive vegetation. They primarily feed on aquatic plants, so they can help with management of some nasty invasives like Eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed that grow to the surface of the water.
Wood duck populations have only spiked in recent years due to the protective responses made as a result of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They are also protected by this treaty, so there’s not much you can do to remove them. They feed on a lot of bugs on land, so they may also be helping with the reduction of some nuisance bug species.
Right now, many ducks are making their way down from the northern climates and taking time to rest in our lakes before they begin to fly south for the winter. Within a month or two, they’ll all be gone until spring. That may be why you’re seeing a higher number of them currently.
[The] best advice would be to post signs around the lake telling people not to feed the ducks since that generally tells them that people will feed them if they stay around the area.”
With appreciation to
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for Capital/Mohawk Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management
Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga