Too many ducks!

Well, Honey is still here, and is the dominant duck in the pond, able to drive away all other hens and drakes within her feeding radius:

The problem is that there are too many ducks. While there were three drakes and three hens a few days ago, now there are eight hens and thirteen drakes! In view of this crowding, which causes fights, quacking, and flights, I’ve decided to take action. 

From now on I’ll feed only Honey until most of the ducks have escaped the pandemonium—and I fervently hope they will. I can identify Honey not just by her bill, but by her dominant behavior, and at lunchtime today she was the only duck who got fed. (I toss a little food just within a foot of her, and she drives off the interlopers. Then I toss more food until she’s had a meal.)  This may be unfair to the other hens (I don’t care about the drakes, who have done their job and should leave), but I can’t handle eight broods in the pond this spring!


  1. Ann German
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    My guess is that they’ll thin out as the weather warms and they can go further north.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I think that’s right.

  2. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Told ya. And it’s just the beginning! Good grief! Look what your love of a duck hath wrought. I shouldn’t laugh because it is a serious problem, no laughing matter, but I just can’t help quacking up.

    Hope your solution works. Otherwise, contact The Donald (not the duck) — he, and only he knows how to keep illegals out.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink


    • sted24
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      To be fair, Orwell got there first:

      “Some ducks are more equal than others”

      (in his early draft, “Duck Farm”).

      Also the notion of carrying capacity in population biology. In this case PCC(E)’s capacity re carrying duck food.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Remember, it was bad enough last year. I told PCC(E) in jest that this year he’d need a forklift for the feed. But in truth he’s got to do something to limit the population. “Some ducks are more equal than others” and Honey and her upcoming family are the most equal but how can PCC(E) protect Honey and her brood from the others fighting for pride of place? I don’t know a whole lot about carrying capacity (I’m reading up) but a bunch of horny ducks in a protected environment, and plenty of food sounds like the makings of a big mess. And what about the multiplication of offspring and generations? Then they’ll have babies, more ducks will arrive later in the year and repeat the cycle and all of those, and more, will return next year.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          I am going to cease and desist from ragging on the population explosion at Botany Pond (at least for the time being). PCC(E) and Honey have the situation in hand and my remarks are becoming de trop..

          • sted24
            Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

            In folk terms carry capacity is simply too many mouths to feed and eating yourself out of house and home (ie, destroying your habitat).

            The problem here, rather, seems to be a certain deus ex machina. You interfere, then find you have interfere some more. One of the drawbacks of trying to play God!

            Oops! Anyway, I sense a parable coming on. And will watch with interest to see what it turns out to be.

  3. Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I am guessing these must be offspring. Why else would twenty one ducks just happen to converge on Botany Pond?

  4. Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    In addition to feeding Honey only, you might also try your Supershooter water gun to discourage them from hanging around.

    • Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I don’t break out the Big Guns until there’s real trouble. First I want them to leave on their own, and I don’t want to scare ALL the hens away. . .

    Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy the duck updates and pictures please keep them coming.

  6. Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Feed Honey. The others will ‘keep as they are’.

  7. Monika
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I envision a secret facebook (or rather beakbook) group. “Visit Botany Pond for good noms.”

  8. Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Get your ducks in a row?
    I don’t remember from previous seasons, but maybe right now some of them were in the same migrating group, and they are merely laying over for a bit before flying on to their summer homes.

  9. Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Honey…is the dominant duck in the pond.

    Honey is the matriarch of Botany Pond and all her descendants know it.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    An embarrassment of riches, as it were.

    Good to see our gal Honey lettin’ those other ducks around Botany Pond know what’s what.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that there are too many ducks. … I’ve decided to take action. … From now on I’ll feed only Honey until most of the ducks have escaped the pandemonium …

    Oh, so your gonna do an Obamacare “death panel” FEMA-camp number on ’em, huh? 🙂

  12. Mark R.
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


    That’s a lot of drakes!

  13. Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t you mark her to tell if it’s her when she comes back? too much trouble?

  14. Susan Davies
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    You are the Sorcerer’s Apprentice! The more hens and chicks you feed, the more you will have returning next year. Soon you won’t be able to see the surface of the pond!

  15. Steve Frank
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    “Too Many Ducks!”

    You’ve found the title for a new children’s book.

  16. James Heard
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Well, could it be that you may be disturbing the natural order of “duck life” at Botany Pond by artificially providing food for the duck broods- enabling an overpopulation??? Good luck correcting the situation🤦‍♂️

    • Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Oh, please, give me a break. The “natural order of duck life” used to include a lot of mortality.

      In the past four years, we’ve had almost no mortality. Do not make snarky comments like this any more.

      There’s not one iota of kindness or understanding in your comment, and, frankly, I’m getting tired of this kind of discourse.

  17. Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Looks like next season of Botany Pond is going to be a gripping drama. 🙂

  18. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    If you have a small garden pond, a duck is like a bull in a china shop.
    They eat your frog spawn tadpoles and other small inhabitants, uproot your waterplants,trample and squash your waterside plants and shit your place full, leaving your small, once beautiful and biodiverse little pond a stinking, muddy pool.
    Ducks need large ponds, and the higher their numbers, the larger the pond needed.

  19. Evan Plommer
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    No surprise that progeny from the pond are returning: it’s determined.

  20. keith
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Resource concentration hypothesis rears its ugly head.

  21. Andrea Kenner
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I’ll bet a bunch of them are Honey’s offspring.

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