Sunday duck report

April 12, 2020 • 1:45 pm

Duck reports may be scarcer than mallards’ teeth for a while, as Honey and Dorothy are both sitting firmly on their nests, with an EHD (expected hatching date) of about May 4. Preparations are being made for two Great Leaps Forward at that time. What we have on the pond now are two drakes, Wingman (who comes when I call) and a new buddy of his. I feed Wingman for the time being, but not very much since I’d like the drakes to leave before the ducklings enter the pond.

So, let’s celebrate real life this Sunday with some duck photos.

First, Dorothy on her nest (she hasn’t moved in about five days:

Dorothy having one of her last meals in the pond. You can see the small dot on the right side of her bill that gave rise to her name:

The eastern side of Erman Hall with Honey’s nest indicated by the arrow. You can see her head poking up in the window (which I’ve covered on the inside to avoid disturbance). She began incubating between April 5 and 6.


And closer:

The Queen, Chicago’s most famous mallard:

And we mustn’t forget the handsome drake Wingman, who’s probably fathered both upcoming broods:

Nor should we forget the many turtles, who have been coming out on sunny days to get their body temperature raised (since they’re cold-blooded, they can’t internally regulate their temperature). Notice how they stick out their limbs and necks to maximize the surface of the body that can be warmed.

Although the water lilies haven’t started growing in Botany Pond, the trees have yet to leaf out, and the vegetation around the pond hasn’t begun forming its duck-hiding barrier, the pond is still glorious with Spring flowers:


13 thoughts on “Sunday duck report

  1. Have you considered painting the outside-facing side of your window cover a darker color so Honey isn’t so visible to predators? On the other hand, darkening it would make her harder to see and photograph. Perhaps a happy medium could be found. Just a thought.

    1. I don’t think she faces any danger of predators. Hawks wouldn’t take a full grown mallard and wouldn’t fly at a window anyway, and terrestrial predators like cats and raccoons couldn’t get up there.

  2. There is a walking area along a large pond/marsh here in Kelowna BC – one of the places where we are able to go during the pandemic. The walkways are wide enough for social distancing. The bird population in that protected area is a joy. There are a lot of Mallards that I watch with pleasure – just as I do every single update on Honey and the entire gang at Botany Ponds. I noticed two weeks ago another breed of duck mixed in with the Mallards. Using google I identified them as American Wigeons. A smaller, lovely looking critter.

    The ducks and all the WEIT entries help so much provide the type of enjoyment that will help get me through this. My only child, a son lives a day’s drive away and has to make a living. He phones about every four days and cares – but essentially I’m on my own. Isolation, I fear, will be really hard for older people who have few computer skills.

  3. I love the pic of the entire side of Erman Hall. Honey’s spot is clearly the best spot on the wall, nicely centered with a great view.

  4. Charming ducks and building. The flowers frame things nicely. Some of the turtles have quite a load of algae. Helps with disguise.

  5. I am also worried about the turtles and the ducklings. We had four Australasians greblings (if that is the term?!) hatch a southern summer ago, but only one lived to maturity. The others probably became lunch to the Eastern Long-neck Turtles in the pond.

  6. First, Dorothy on her nest (she hasn’t moved in about five days

    5 days?! Wow, talk about social distancing. clap.

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