Readers’ wildlife photos: Thursday duckling report

June 6, 2019 • 8:00 am

Permit me to show my own photos today—of the Botany Pond mallards, of course.

All ten are still thriving, and getting huge. A woman at the pond told me yesterday that she’s watched the ducklings every year for several decades, and she’s never seen all of them survive so well. (That made me proud!)

The Brood of Ten comes for an early morning breakfast (they get fed between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m., when the campus is quiet:

One is out of the picture here, but I assure you that there are ten. They’re starting to look like mom.

Bright-eyed and healthy:

When they’re resting on the “beach” behind the metal barrier around the north side of the pond, you can tell they’re there because Katie’s head protrudes above the fence. She’s very watchful:

Here are the ducklings foraging among the lily pads. They’re also dabbling and eating algae off the rocks in the shallows. I have a good picture of that to show on another day.

A formal duckling portrait, taken two days ago:

More of the same, of course: that’s what we proud grandparents do.

This guy (or girl) has a punkish haircut:

Postprandial bathing and grooming at the North Duck Ring. (Note the turtles sunning themselves):

Here’s a video of ducklings dabbling for corn and washing themselves. (The rhythmic noises in the background are the graduate students striking for a union; they are marching by our building and banging drums.) Note the wing display 20 seconds in.

A photo from two days ago. The bank of lily pads, a source of food and fun, is getting larger:

Preening and resting on the South Duck Island:

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the ducklings from the cypress roots:

A sleeping baby:

Finally, we mustn’t forget the generally protective father, the kind and handsome Gregory Peck. Look at those lovely curled tail feathers!


9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos: Thursday duckling report

  1. When do the little guys (that’s NOT a sexist non-recognition of the ladies – I really mean males!) take on the purple/blue head coloring, and other male/female distinctions?

  2. With enough observation – in this case, for example, is it possible to distinguish each duckling from another?

  3. PDF: Carotenoid-based bill colour as an indicator of immunocompetence and sperm performance in male mallards
    Reproductive Biology and Behaviour Group, Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Starnberg, Germany

    “…Our results show that the mallard bill could signal information on important male traits, and this information was contained in the spectral shape, or the colour, of the bill. To the mallard visual system, the dual peaked spectrum represents a nonspectral colour, through stimulation of nonspectrally adjacent cones (c/f purple for humans, Burkhardt, 1989). Such dual-peaked spectra are typically difficult to describe in terms of hue and chroma…”

    In essence a drake that consumes a healthily wide variety of carotenoid producing plant, algae, bacteria & fungi materials will get an adequate supply of yellow, orange & red organic pigments – this he will proudly display via his standard fixture billboard advertising [& presumably other coloured features not covered by the paper].

  4. Love the photo on the North ‘duck ring’! Thank you for keeping us updated on your every increasing duck family.

  5. Lovely photos and videos. Thanks Jerry for allowing has to enjoy the ducks vicariously. They’re wonderful.

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