The hens are still nesting

Honey and Dorothy, my mallard hens for the year, are still sitting on their nests, as they must for the 28-odd days of incubation. In the meantime, it’s quite touching to see Wingman sitting in the pond day after day, or slowly paddling about, waiting and waiting for his hens.

Here he is in a view from my office. When a hen does fly down to the water for a quick drink or snack, Wingman is by her side instantly, so he’s clearly there as a companion and protector. It’s very sweet:

Here’s Dorothy sitting on her nest this morning:

Honey, the Best Mom, high on a ledge in Erman Hall, sitting tight on her eggs. I’ve circled her cute little duck head:

My girl! Only bit more than two weeks until—if all goes well—there will be two broods of ducklings in Botany Pond:

A longer duck report tomorrow.


  1. JezGrove
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Good to see all is well at Botany Pond!

  2. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Any photos or videos of Wingman watching out for his ladies when they visit the pond?

    • Posted April 16, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      The first photo shows him; he’s the dark speck just to the right of the center of that photo. There will be a video tomorrow.

  3. Sian Evans
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Lovely update!

  4. Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Is Wingman hanging around because male ducks have a role in protecting or otherwise rearing their offspring? Or does he basicially have nothing left to contribute, but is sticking around for the free food? [I’ve known human fathers of both persuasions.]

    • Posted April 16, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s partly because he does protect the hens a bit when they have ducklings, but also because I think he’s bonded to both Honey and Dorothy (ducks are largely social animals).

      • Teresa Carson
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        So touching! Such lovely birds.

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