Monday duck report

As the pleasures dwindle down to a precious few: telephone calls to distant friends, wine, and books, at least I still have my ducks. While the number of mallards at Botany pond has been steady at three to four (two hens, Honey and Dorothy, and one or two Weinsteins), today, as a light snow fell, two more drakes joined the pack. This means a lot of inter-drake fighting and hens interrupting their meals to chase the interlopers as well.

As of two days ago, however, all was well. Here’s Honey, Dorothy, and their boyfriend/guard resting on the bank the other day.

Here’s the bachelor drake who’s never allowed to go near the other ducks. I feel sorry for him. I did, however, ensure he was fed. He’s a handsome lad, and I’m not sure on what basis the females prefer the Lothario above rather than him. (Prum will tell you “beauty”, but he doesn’t know.)

Lothario watches over Honey and Dot feeding:

Here you can clearly see the differences in their bills: Honey (foreground) has a darker a more stippled bill. Dorothy (rear) has a black dot under her nostril on the right side:

Many times there’s a whole lotta quacking going on. Here’s Honey sounding off for reasons best known to herself. Notice her cute glance upwards at 38 seconds in.

My beautiful hen:

Note the pattern of stippling on her beak, and the dark triangle where the upper right part of her bill meets the head. There is also a pattern of dots curving down from her nostril.

In contrast, Dorothy has much more orange on her bill and a prominent black dot below her nostril:

A closer view of Dot’s dot:

The left side of Honey’s bill, with its upside-down-“U” pattern enclosing two black dots. There’s also a black triangle in the same position as the other side of her bill:

The left side of Dorothy’s bill. It has more orange than Honey’s, and less stippling. The two hens are absolutely distinguishable, even at a distance of 20 feet or so.

Soon it will be time for Honey (and perhaps Dorothy) to build their nests.

14 Comments

  1. Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Who’da thought that hen’s bills are like fingerprints.

  2. Caracal
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, exactly what I needed after reading the news (on-line) this afternoon.

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a much needed respite.

  3. Nicholas K.
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I think perhaps Honey tolerates Dorothy because she is a daughter?

    • Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      It could be but I have no way of knowing. They are basically inseparable, always swimming and resting together.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    He’s a handsome lad, and I’m not sure on what basis the females prefer the Lothario above rather than him.

    Put your finger on that, you’ll be moving a lot more books than what’s possible scribbling about science and religion. 🙂

    • eric
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      They think he’s a aquacktive.

      • Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes, he fills the bill.

        • eric
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          Maybe his voice is very mallardious

          • JezGrove
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            It’s his calm manner – he’s unflappable.

            • Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

              On the other hand, the dames are simply curvy and birdacious. None of them appears to be mallardapted.

  5. C.
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    At least the novel Coronavirus isn’t an avian flu. Our species may be getting into fist fights over loo roll but at least the ducks are safe.

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      You mean they don’t wipe?!

  6. rickflick
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s nice to see Honey keep her dominant position at the pond. She’ll undoubtedly breed there again. More cute little quackers on the way.


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