Ducks stop migration for munchies at New York drug store

Tired of surviving on crumbs, about 50 mallard ducks in New York took to their own devices and waddled into a CVS drug store.

Ducking through two automatic doors, the flock caused a minor disturbance, leading a worker to try to shoo them out with a Swiffer broom. When the Swiffer didn’t quite do the trick, another worker successfully lured them out with a bag of Smartfood popcorn.

All the ducks appeared to be able to accomplish was to leave their cute, muddy footprints behind.

Though there’s no way to know what might’ve been their aim, mallard ducks often exit their breeding grounds because of their lessening access to food.

While human “snowbirds” usually skip town because of an intolerance to cold, waterfowl actually can survive in very cold temperatures. But when the wetlands freeze over, the ducks lose access to their food sources, which include aquatic plants, insects and grain.

Ducks spend much of their summer beefing up to endure their fall migration south, storing nutrients for a ready supply of energy for long migratory flights and to endure the dropping temperatures.

Canadian mallards tend to spend their winters in various parts of the United States, though they can also flock to southern British Columbia, Alberta and northern Mexico.

Usually this migration begins in late September or October, so the offending ducks were right on schedule.

Our most populous duck in North America, the mallard duck even displays a patriotism for Canada: its favourite places to spend breeding season are southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, particularly because of numerous wetlands, and upland areas around wetlands available for nesting.

Ducks’ known means of migration include visual aids like the sun, stars and landmarks, and non-visual mechanisms like homing (an innate sense of one’s path) and interpreting the Earth’s magnetic field. However, the process remains somewhat of a mystery, as does the reason 50 ducks went off-course, waltzing into a drug store in New York.