Proprietor’s wildlife: Sunday duck report

September 1, 2019 • 8:00 am

This post should bring us pretty much up to date on the Botany Pond ducks.  We have one addition to the pond: a handicapped duck has arrived. It’s a hen, and while she can apparently walk and fly well, and eats normally, she can’t swim very well, and paddles frantically when in the water, with her breast lifted up out of the pond. I’ve named her the “Wounded Warrior”. We are watching her carefully, and if she’s still around and swimming with difficulty when the other ducks leave, I will contact the rehab folks.

In the meantime, Honey and Ritz, who were here four days ago, were gone the last three days. This may be the last time I see my favorite mallard. Here’s a video (August 26) of them consorting on North Duck Island:

Here’s our girl and her swain:

Note the size disparity. Ritz is vocalizing, for his full name is Ritz Quacker. But you know by now that only female mallards can produce the full-bodied “quack” that we know.

The handsome Ritz:

Here’s a short video of Daphne’s brood resting on the grass. The most gregarious of all the broods, they’re always together, even now that four of them have departed. The remaining five are always in a clump.

Together forever, and never to part:

Daphne, in molt, is on the left, and one of her brood on the right. You can see how she hasn’t regrown her flight feathers yet, while the “duckling” is pretty much equipped to fly:

A video of Daphne’s brood eating leaves. They’ve stripped most of the reachable leaves from the branches overhanging the pond. I had no idea that ducks ate leaves this way, but live and learn.

Two shots of foraging ducks reaching for leaves to nosh on (Daphne’s offspring):

Video of a tired member of Daphne’s brood (August 26):

And a head shot. This is a well fed mallard!

This is Anna, who’s still around. Notice the slim neck and grayish bill—her identifying features.

Duck butt!

And we mustn’t forget the turtles:

11 thoughts on “Proprietor’s wildlife: Sunday duck report

  1. Hopefully Honey and Ritz will both come back together next year. They will make some handsome quackers.

    Thanks for this soothing duck report. That sleeping brood of Daphne’s almost had me nodding off. 🙂

    1. As I recall, the hens return to the same place to raise another clutch, but the drakes don’t. I bet it has something to do with female mate selection.

  2. Interesting that ducks eat leaves. Who knew?

    Not so surprising that groundhogs eat leaves, but it did surprise me long ago to discover that they’ll climb trees to eat their leaves. So far as I can tell around here, this only applies to mulberry trees. They don’t eat the stems, so a mulberry that has been visited by a groundhog has a very characteristic appearance.

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