If you asked me right now, “Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus): What is the purpose of your life?”, I suppose I’d say, “To make sure that all eight ducklings mature and fledge.” So it goes. Anyway, all eight of them are still here, and growing rapidly (or so Anna tells me; I don’t notice size increases). They all look healthy and vigorous, and tomorrow should get their “duckling starter food” from Purina. I hope to Ceiling Cat they eat it!
While I was feeding the brood this afternoon, Anna dropped by with a grad student, Nora, just to see how things were going. Fortunately, Anna’s learned to carry mealworms with her, as you never know when the urge will strike to FEED DUCKS. We thus were able to have three people feeding everyone, including the porky Frank and the skittish Hank.
First, the brood:
Aren’t they adorable? Notice that the tips of their beaks are reddish (don’t ask me why); at first I thought it was their tongues, but I don’t think so.
Nora feeding mealworms to the brood. I’m hoping that she develops a “duck bug,” as the more people to help out, the better. It takes a village to raise a brood!
Anna and Nora photographing the scene:
One of the few occasions when you can see me smile (photo by Anna). The blue latex glove keeps my hands from getting irritated when I crush mealworms (I’m allergic to them):
Yesterday two little girls helped me feed the ducks. They got to learn a little biology on the side. Their mom is to the right. (Photo by Trevor Price)
Finally, yesterday Anna took two videos. This one, “bath time,” is especially good, as you can see Mom’s ablutions and how the ducklings imitate her. Pay attention to the ducklings who dive completely under water and then, like a cork, pop up a few seconds later in a different place.
Be sure to watch these on full screen.
Here’s Honey shepherding her brood away from the noisome Frank: