We have more birds today, and from two readers.
The first few photos, showing the babies of spring, were contributed by reader Ed Kroc, who took them in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
A typical mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) family, always a happy spring sight.
A mother wood duck (Aix sponsa) and her many chicks. Wood duck clutches are usually quite big; this one mother had 15 chicks of her own!
JAC: That, of course, means a huge mortality rate if the population size is stable 🙁
And some resident Canada geese (Branta canadensis)., with Ed’s backstory:
During the second week of April, a mother goose commandeered a gull’s nest across the street from my apartment, laying a clutch of five eggs while the gull pair were out fishing. After a month of incubation, the five goslings hatched early on a Saturday morning.Unfortunately, since the nesting site was located so high (ideal for gulls, not so much for geese), the goslings were in immediate trouble. Geese chicks need access to water. Since parent geese cannot regurgitate food for their young to eat, the first thing the parents do is lead them into calm water to start eating plants and insects on their own.Baby geese have been known to jump from heights of 40 feet from their nest to the ground below to follow their parents to water. Of course, this usually happens in a marshy area, where the ground is soft and wet and, most notably, not made of concrete. The geese across the street managed to jump down two storeys from their nest to the main roof area, but from there the family was trapped. A large ledge surrounds the roof (probably about a foot high) and made it impossible for the goslings to get over the edge. Even if they could have mounted the ledge, it’s unlikely they would have survived the fall four storeys down to the pavement at street level.I had worried about this day for a month, debating with myself what action should be taken, if any. After a final round of semi-frantic indecision, my partner and I informed some residents of the building across the way about the situation, and after some phone calls to a wildlife service, the goslings and their mother were packed up and driven a few blocks west to Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park (the father found them later).The family is doing fine now, and in fact paired up with another goose family of five chicks that hatched just a few days earlier. You can see some of these adoptive cousins in the photo (they are slightly larger). The two mothers and fathers, and the ten chicks, are now safely together and doing well in Stanley Park.
BTW, I have helped produce another brood of baby squirrels, which are feeding on my windowsill.
Finally, from Stephen Barnard in Idaho,a gadwall (Anas streptera):