Duck update

Two days ago there were three mallard hens and three drakes in Botany Pond: the maximum number I want to nest here. Today there are six drakes and five hens, and lots of activity, lots of chasing, and lots of quacking by females (I have no idea why). This morning there was a loud chorus in which all the hens were quacking together (remember, only females give the classic “quack”: the drakes have a pathetic and less audible version). I don’t know why, as I saw no predators, dogs, or anything else that would disturb them. When I fed them this afternoon, there was moderate quacking; here’s an example:

These pictures are from yesterday, when another hen and drake had arrived.

Not Honey:

A hen and drake eating some good duck chow:

Male in his mating raiment:

A drake having a thorough postprandial wash:

The drakes are especially handsome and iridescent this year. I suspect it’s mating time!

This one looks sly:


More to come, of course. . .


  1. Janet
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Could these be Honey’s kids and grandkids? Perhaps all the quacking is part of establishing territories within the pond?

  2. Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    There are going to be a lot of ducklings on Botany pond this spring. I hope it has enough capacity. And PCC’s wallet holds out.

  3. Terry L Pedersen
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I believe you decided it best not to feed them. Yet here you are doing it.

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      IIRC, that was only before migration to encourage them to fly south.

      • Mark R.
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        That is my understanding as well. I don’t know if feeding all of them now will cause them to stick around though; I doubt PCC wants too many moms.

      • Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        My understanding too.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    That drake cleaning! Talk about water off a duck’s back.

  5. Liz
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I saw two mallards earlier today while out looking at other birds. One was a female and her bill pattern was definitely not like Honey’s. I was wondering if the offspring of Honey might have an increased chance of having similar bill patterns.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Male in his mating raiment …

    The ornithological equivalent of the 1980s’ “Members Only” jacket? 🙂

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      As referenced in Sheryl Crow’s song of the same name:

      • JezGrove
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        “When you put it on, something happens”, as the jacket’s tag line went. Luckily for the manufacturer, they didn’t specify what – so no refunds when sensible females ran for the exit!

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      The powers that be ought to consider that Mallard green for the Masters jacket at Augusta! It’s splendid.

  7. rickflick
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    A duck pond is like daytime soap.

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