No female Mallard Ducks
There are no female Mallards this year on our 100 acre lake near coastal Virginia (Virginia Beach). Many male Mallards. Why and what will happen next?
Virginia Beach Virginia
Thanks for your inquiry. It does seem curious, but seeing a flock of only males is actually normal. Once females mate with the males and incubation is underway (i.e. all eggs laid), the males will leave the females and hang out in a flock together.
Why no females? Well, depending on the situation, there could be a couple answers.
1) they are incubating their eggs and you may see them in a few days when the eggs hatch. Once hens are sitting on eggs they rarely leave the nest until the eggs hatch.
2) it is possible that something happened to your lake, such a change in the water level or a change in the amount of nesting habitat available, that made your lake not desirable as a nesting location this year. Female mallards do have nest site fidelity and try to return to the same area that they were born. But, they can be flexible around a certain area if their nesting habitat isn't available.
I would wait and see what happens next year. If you still don't see any hens in the early spring, I would contact your local Department of Natural Resources office to find out if they have any knowledge of a disease or habitat change that would have affected the hens. Here is the link to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation site: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov