Wednesday: brief duck report—with snow

This morning we had a fair dusting of snow in Chicago—unusual for this time of year. I was of course worried about my ducks, for we’re having a cold snap that started yesterday and will extend to Friday. Yesterday Dorothy was off the nest twice, coming to the pond for food (I didn’t call her), and eating a ton. I worried about her eggs freezing, but am told that this is not an issue if she’s only off them for a short while (she was).

Today, with the snow falling, Honey came to the pond for food. It’s the first time I’ve seen her get off her eggs—ever. She ate a huge meal and then flew back to her nest, for she’s a great mom and wouldn’t abandon her clutch. I’ll have a longer post with videos and better pictures soon, but here are a few shots of Botany Pond this morning.

This was taken from the window of my office. Using my binoculars, I saw ducks, one of them a hen. So of course I hurried to the pond.

And, sure enough, two ducks paddled swiftly toward me. I am 100% sure that both of them know me by sight, as they don’t come steaming up to everyone, and I made no noises. But is this Honey or Dorothy? If Dorothy kept leaving her nest, as she did twice yesterday, I’d be worried.

It’s Honey! Look at the bill! Note that she’s also dusted with the snowflakes coming down in the photo:

The right side of the bill tells the same tale:

And of course Wingman was there; he’s always waiting in the pond while his wives sit on their eggs. He got fed as well:

The weather will warm up in a few days, and is predicted to reach highs of 53° F (12° C) by Saturday. That’s more normal for this time of year, and better for my waterfowl.

In the meantime, the untimely snow apparently caused a huge multiple-car crash this morning on the icy Kennedy Expressway. Sixty vehicles were involved, and 14 people were sent to the hospital.(None of the injuries are life-threatening.)

Here’s a photo of the crash sent by reader Bill:



  1. Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Not very spring like. However, unlike covid-19, the unpleasantness will be over in a few days.

    I am glad your ducks are well fed. They need those calories to generate body heat.

    • Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, if it is so cold they mmust be burning a lot of calories to keep those egges warm. Hope they put down underneath the eggs. The building must be very cold to the touch.

      • Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        They are on a windowsill right next to a window by the heated interior, so I think they’re okay. And yes, at least Honey lined her next with down.

        My goal is to feed them only if they’re on the pond, and not to lure them down, which takes them off the egss.

  2. enl
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Good to know that both are keeping the calories coming in with the weather.

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh, to be in Chicago now that April’s there….

  4. Posted April 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    You are getting what we got Sunday (5 inches of snow here, some still around. Cold!)

    Hang in there! I think ducks (adults) are pretty impervious to cold. As long as they get food, they are fine.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Crazy weather…those cars were obviously not social distancing. 😉

    Glad your ducks are eating well and staying fit.

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