Duck on the Roof

Published: 13 May 2024

Text: Anne-Marie Korseberg Stokke

Photo: Anne-Marie Korseberg Stokke

They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Maybe so, but we can at least say that we currently have one, and soon more birds in the bushes at Oslo Science Park.

Mallard. Illustration photo by Lillian Utstrand Gulliksen.

The lush rooftop garden at Gaustadtoppen is a popular spot for those of us who work in the park. But now we must give up some of the space for a mother duck who has chosen to bring her ducklings into the world right there. One of the flower beds is cordoned off with tape so that the proud mother can brood in peace.

Ecologist Ole Jørgen Lønnve and nature manager Helene Lind Jensen from Biofokus took a trip to the rooftop garden and informed us that the duck is a mallard. According to the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre, this is not a threatened species, but rather the most common duck in Norway. Nevertheless, one should respect birds during nesting.

“If disturbed, the mother may leave the eggs, which will become cold, and the ducklings may die. So, it is good that a barrier and a sign have been put up,” says Jensen.

Helene Lind Jensen is the communication manager and nature manager at Biofokus.


Biofokus is an independent foundation with 19 employees and is among the country's leading professional communities in biodiversity and nature mapping. They have offices in Oslo Science Park, and local branches in Telemark, Innlandet, and Trøndelag.

“But aren't there many other and more accessible places she could have chosen?”

“She has probably chosen to establish herself at Gaustadtoppen because there is little competition from other birds there, and probably a good hiding place. It is a very nice rooftop garden with a good view of the surroundings. In addition, it is not far from the water in Gaustadbekken.”

“No, the stream is not far away, but it is quite far down! How will she get the ducklings down five floors?”

“Unfortunately, she has not thought of that. The ducklings are cared for by the mother for 6-8 weeks, and it takes a long time before they can fly. You can try to transport both ducklings and mother to the water, but I recommend asking “Fuglehjelpen” what is best to do in this case.

The plan of Erik Ersnes, technical manager at Oslo Science Park is controlled relocation.

“We will move the mother and her ducklings down to the pond between us and IFI as soon as the eggs hatch, but of course, we will check with experts so that we do not make any mistakes. The pond is being filled as we speak, in collaboration with the University of Oslo, so it will soon be ready for a duckling dip!

Until then, Ersnes urges everyone to respect the barrier so that this has a happy ending.

The hope is that the ducklings will safely end up in the pond with their mother.


Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos Linnaeus, 1758


The Mallard is by far the most common duck species in Norway and breeds throughout the country. It is mostly found near water, often close to people. The male in breeding plumage is easily recognizable, while the female has a more discreet plumage. Many individuals overwinter in Norway. The diet is very varied, and the Mallard eats both plants and animal food.


Source: Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre