Are you trying to find out how ducks respond to a downpour?
Let’s cut right to the chase…
Ducks love the rain!
We have been hunting and observing ducks in all sorts of weather conditions for many years and we can confidently say this is true.
Ever heard the phrase “ducky weather”?
This article will go over why ducks like rain so much, as well as how they behave in more extreme conditions.
Let’s get started.
Why Ducks Love Rainy Weather
Ducks are aquatic birds. They are adept swimmers and have evolved and adapted to survive and thrive near water bodies.
And the rain is no different.
As long as there isn’t a heavy downpour, ducks will usually be found out flying, playing, and preening in the rain.
Their feathers are meant for wicking away water thanks to a special oil gland call the preen gland. The ducks spread this oil over their feathers which is what helps them repel water.
Ducks like rainy weather for a couple reasons:
- The rain provides more opportunities to find food (bugs, worms, etc.) in the soft wet ground
- Rain gives the duck a sense of safety from predators and hunters
What is Preening?
Preening is when a bird cleans and keeps their feathers orderly using their beak.
The preen gland will secrete water resistant oils which are spread over their body to make them waterproof.
This is partially why ducklings stay out of the rain initially, but once they are fully feathered they will be happy to go play in the rain.
Do ducks like flying in the rain?
Believe it or not, ducks still fly when it is raining. In fact, they will often fly more in light rain or windy weather than they will on a calm clear day.
It is believed that this is because they feel less threatened in rainy weather, and will fly lower than normal as a result.
The rain also makes finding certain types of food like insects easier.
Is rainy weather good for duck hunting?
In most cases, the answer is yes.
Duck hunters have long been known to favor some wind and rain over a clear day. The rain will provide additional cover, making it less likely that ducks will spot hunters and their blind.
Ducks are also very active in the wind and rain. They will behave more predictably which will give us hunters more opportunities to shoot a duck.
Waterproof gun cases, gear, and heaters are practically a necessity for this reason.
Will ducks fly in heavy rain?
While ducks are very capable of flying and navigating in the wind and rain, at some point the conditions can become so severe that they will find it difficult to fly.
Heavy downpours will cause ducks to go find shelter to ride out the storm in the locations mentioned below.
Where do ducks go when its raining?
While ducks usually have no problem spending time out in the rain and are often quite happy to do so, they will seek shelter if the weather is severe.
They will find shelter in brush, under tree branches, or even inside nearby buildings.
The main reason ducks will look for shelter in heavy rainfall is because they are not able to navigate as well. Once conditions have improved they will leave the shelter.
Do ducks need shelter from the rain?
Ducks do not need shelter from the rain.
As long as the duck has developed all of its feathers, they are more than happy to spend time out in the rain.
In general, ducks prefer to have some amount of shelter to periodically get out of the sun, rain, and wind but they do not need it.
Can ducks drown in the rain?
Typically ducks are not at risk for drowning in rain.
But there can be exceptions.
Ducks are birds and do not have the ability to breathe under water. If it rains hard enough to cause flash flooding etc. there is a chance ducks can be caught off guard and end up drowning. It isn’t likely though.
Baby ducks on the other hand are at a higher risk of drowning. They don’t have fully developed feathers, and they may not have the ability to paddle as long as a full grown adult.
Are ducks afraid of storms?
Ducks see well in the dark, but how do they react in a dark rainstorm?
Full grown adult ducks are not afraid of storms, they are usually happy to go out in the rain as we have discussed above.
The one exception is when they are young ducklings. Before they have had time to fully develop, ducklings can be frightened by load thunder and may stay hidden and sheltered as a result.
What weather do ducks prefer?
Ducks prefer cold weather. You may intuitively think ducks would like warm weather like the rest of us but that is not the case.
Some research has shown that colder temperatures can actually correlate with larger growth during the early part of a ducks life [study].
So as hunters, we need to take steps to keep our blind warm because hunting in cold weather is just part of duck hunting.
When are ducks most active?
Ducks tend to be most active during the day, specifically right around sunrise until morning and then again in the late afternoon until sunset.
Ducks are more active during this time because they are able to migrate more easily as well as hunt for food like insects, crops, and other plant matter. Fun fact, Muscovy ducks have even been known to eat snakes.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of why ducks like rain so much.
Use this knowledge to help you time your hunts and maximize your chances of success.
If you want to learn more about waterfowl hunting techniques and gear, checkout our page on Duck Hunting.