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Portland Audubon says mother ducks are always close by; Good Samaritans can cause unintentional harm.

COURTESY PHOTO: CAROL ZYVATKAUSKAS - A wood duckling was sunning itself along the edge of Johnson Creek, upstream from Main City Park. Everyone's first instinct is to spring into action when they spot a duckling alone in one of East Multnomah County's natural areas — like the baby wood duck that was seemingly abandoned and sunning itself on the banks of Johnson Creek in Gresham's Main City Park last weekend.

But experts from the Portland Audubon Society warn that in most cases, it's best to leave the young fowl alone and allow their mothers to care for them.

The wildlife advocacy organization receives many calls from concerned community members when they notice a duckling separated from its mother. But, officials said, the moms are often nearby, and the ducklings will "peep" to alert them to their whereabouts.

Attempting to capture the young and transport them to "safer" locations will often cause the mother to fly away, and the ducklings to scatter, making the situation worse.

If the mother has been spooked and left the ducklings behind, they can be gently gathered and left in a cardboard box with the top open to the sky. The mother will usually circle back shortly to relocate the ducklings.

If you find an injured or abandoned baby bird in the Portland-metro area, visit

As for that young wood duck soaking up the sun in Gresham alone, after a few peeps, mom came hustling back over.

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