Fierce battle between Dorothy and a drake: Dorothy kicks butt

May 13, 2020 • 1:15 pm

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

27 thoughts on “Fierce battle between Dorothy and a drake: Dorothy kicks butt

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

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

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/db.xqy?show=browse2.xml|29

    1. 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.

Leave a Reply