Brief duck report: Honey’s nest near hatching time

May 2, 2020 • 1:30 pm

There’s a treat today: a view of Honey’s nest, blurred as it is, and a video of Honey landing on her nest.

Yesterday at about 2 pm, I saw Honey fly to the pond for a drink and a snack. I went down to feed her and make sure it was her, and verified that by scanning the nests with binoculars (Dorothy was on her nest but Honey was gone).  I quickly went into Erman hall, removed the “duck barrier” that I put up to keep the nesting Honey from being disturbed, and had a look at her nest. There were three pastel-green eggs visible, but, most interesting, the nest had been fashioned into a beautiful circular shape with a central depression, and was loaded with down feathers that Honey had plucked from her breast.

I was worried that Honey was going to have a small brood, but I learned that mallard hens cover their eggs with down and nest material when they leave the nest, so I’m pretty sure that there are at least seven eggs there—the count before she began incubating. The visible ones showed no sign of hatching yet (a small hole is the first thing to appear).  Here’s her lovely nest, which I’ll try to recover and preserve (along with eggshells or any unhatched eggs) when she abandons it after hatching.

This is taken with an autofocus camera through a screen and a dirty window, but it’s the best I can do. You can see the donut-shaped nest and all the feathers stuck into it, as well as at least two eggs:

I then stuck my head and my camera between the window and the “duck barrier”, waiting uncomfortably until Honey returned to see how she made it onto the windowsill. All of a sudden, a duck appeared on the ledge, and I wasn’t able to observe how exactly she landed on it. But below is a (poor quality) video showing her preening a bit and then sitting down on the eggs after her visit to the pond.

5 thoughts on “Brief duck report: Honey’s nest near hatching time

  1. I like the way she takes a few moments, has a few deep breaths and ambles about a bit before settling back down again. Fascinating to get a look into the private life of a wild animal.

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