Posted by: soniahs | May 19, 2011

Duckling drama

This year, two sets of ducklings are being raised in our pond. Two years ago, another duck raised a brood of ducklings- I wonder if either of these females is from that brood?

The older brood is on the bank, and the younger brood is in the water. (Y. Fernandez)

These are wild ducks- possibly Mottled x Mallard hybrids, or just plain Mallards. At least, the male who’s been hanging around and is probably the father is a hybrid, so we’re assuming the babies are. The first brood had 9 ducklings at first, though it’s just asking to be disappointed if we count them, since there are any number of predators around here. In these photos, they’re all mostly transitioned into adult feathers.

Trouble on the horizon... (Y. Fernandez)

The second brood hatched a few weeks later and is smaller- but the mother makes up for it by being seriously aggressive to the older ducks. It makes sense- her babies are younger, and if she didn’t defend them there would likely be trouble from the larger ducks. Our pond’s not that big, so space gets to be a factor.

Brood #2 paddles in. (Y. Fernandez)

The amount of biting, quacking, splashing, tail-pulling, and hysterical peeping would probably be less if people didn’t feed them. But when one parent sees the other ducks being fed, they swim over as fast as they can. The result: duck drama.

The duckling raft breaks up as they reach land. (Y. Fernandez)

I won’t post any dramatic photos here- let’s just absorb the cuteness and pretend they’re not pushy, loudmouthed jerks. And it is cute to watch them paddle around in tight duckling rafts. Even cuter when they sleep in little duckling piles at night. …And yes, the two families do sleep on opposite ends of the pond.

They're surprisingly good at synchronized swimming. (Y. Fernandez)

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  1. […] of babies in our pond. I’ve mentioned the apparent awesomeness of our pond for duck breeding before, but this is pretty […]


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