Fierce battle between Dorothy and a drake: Dorothy kicks butt

On May 6, one day after Dorothy and her brood of ten jumped from the ledge and the babies had their first swim, Dorothy was investigated by a curious drake. Or an aggressive drake, because she and the drake quickly got into a huge tussle, biting each other’s necks and circling each other in the water while the peeping babies looked on.

I didn’t know which way it would go, but I took a video, and another video was recorded by the ever-running webcam (University IT captured the fight below). Dorothy prevailed and the drake fled, and as it paddled away quickly, she followed him and pecked his butt! A victory for the hen!

I’m not sure who the male is, and whether it’s Wingman. All I know is that she sensed a danger to her brood and fought it off.

The same fight as seen from the PondCam at On Botany Pond. If it doesn’t start at the fight, the pugilism begins at 4:15:20.

h/t: Sara Lackie


  1. Andrea Kenner
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    You go, girl! That was a fierce battle!

  2. George
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    She has to be Honey’s daughter.

    • George
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I wish Dorothy had plucked a feather as he was fleeing and kept it as a trophy.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        She v-e-r-y almost did – what a great mother!

  3. Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I taught her everything I know (because I’m a martial artist; not because I beat up Gethyn)!

  4. eric
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Great on her. And she’s doing it on three-four weeks of basically a starvation diet and minimal exercise! Very impressive.

    I almost hate to ask because I think I don’t want to know the answer, but I don’t know mallards. What would the drake had done if he had successfully driven Dorothy off? Would he have actually harmed the ducklings, or just kept her away from them so that the elements/starvation could do the job?

    • Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Jerry mentioned something about trying to get the hen to abandon their chicks, and this makes them more available for a mating.
      At least they are not like male lions, or many other mammals for that manner, or they would just go after the youngsters with murder on their mind.

      • eric
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the answer. So, basically, he’s looking for rape but no intent to murder. Given the possibilities within the animal kingdom, that’s, well, better than I expected.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          No murder intent, but sometimes the hen drowns during the rape because the drake pushes her head under the water for too long. Also if the ducklings come around Mum during the rape, they can get drowned too.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Dot’s a bad-ass mother.

    • JezGrove
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t spot it either.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Doh! I was trying to reply to EdwardM at #6!

  6. EdwardM
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    What time does the fight occur on the Botany Pond cam? When I click on it, the vid is > 5 hrs.

    • drew
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      It’s right around the 4:15:20 mark

    • Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      4:15:20. The video above should start automatically, but if not go to that time.

      • Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        That’s the exact end of the video. The video is 5:57:19 long.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        5:57:19 is when the video ends. The fight starts at the time drew mentioned above.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        That’s curious. My version starts at zero and ends at 5:57:19. Drew’s time, 4:15:20 is the correct mark.

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Just a couple of hours ago, a drake snuck up on one of the mothers who was resting on the bank with her brood or part thereof. He drove her over near the entrance to the canal, top right. Much furious flapping and churning of water ensued, then the drake went off but I could see nothing of the hen. Hope she’s okay. Does anybody know?

    Also, a question from someone not computer savvy: is there any way to watch the feed from Botany Pond on full screen without obliterating the ability to access other tabs? I have an old macbook or does that matter?

    • Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I heard about that and the hen (Honey) was fine. I’ve been squirting one particularly nefarious drake; the rest are well behaved. But I’d like them all gone–except for Wingman.

  8. George
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    The UofC Library has posted some historic pictures of Botany Pond. Fun to look at. The landscape designers are the Olmsted brothers, sons of the great Frederick Law Olmsted. The father did work on the UofC campus as well as Jackson Park, home of the White City (the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and future home of the Obama Center), Washington Park, and Midway Plaisance. Jackson Park is east of UofC along Lake Michigan and is connected to Washington Park by the Midway which runs through campus). I think after fledging, the ducklings head to one of the parks or to Oak Woods Cemetery south of campus.|29

  9. Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I like the wing flap at the end. Kind of the last “And stay out!” message.

    • Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      After the heron flew off yesterday, a couple of the drakes flew off too and then came back, landing in the pond and at least one of them did that same giant wing flap. I wonder if it’s a territorial sign of dominance or winner victorious.

  10. pablo
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    You’re whatever gender you identify with at any particular minute.

    • pablo
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      I hate this phone. Comment was supposed to be for the cat post.

  11. Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Glorious video and the sound track is suitably dramatic.

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