It’s too damn hot! (Duck photos)

It’s 90°F (32.2º C) at the duck pond now, and, having fed both broods—we still have six offspring from Dorothy’s second brood, but Honey’s juveniles are flying away daily, so we’re down from 17 to 10—I’m covered with sweat. It’s too damn hot to do anything, and, as you’ll see below, the ducks know that, too. They’re sacked out in the shade and having occasional sips of pond water.

I’m tired and dripping and too exhausted to brain (the Pinker post yesterday did me in). So enjoy these latest duck photos.

Three itinerant hens who frequent the pond as a group. Exorcised by both Dorothy and Honey, they’ve befriended each other. Here they’re having a rest in the heat:

Honey’s brood (look how big they are!) sleeping in a shady stretch of water. They don’t often sleep on the water like this:

The rest are on the cement pond rim. I call them the “Dali Ducks”, as they sometimes slop over the edge like Dali’s watches. When they’re thirsty, they reach their necks down for a sip of water:

Dorothy and her babies in the shade. The little ones like to rest under the hostas:

They’ve learned to walk up the duck plank to get out of the channel and onto land. I’m so happy that Dorothy, whose first brood was purloined by Honey, got another chance to have a family of her own. For a while it was touch and go, with Honey being aggressive, but the two broods now tolerate each other warily, and soon almost all of Honey’s babes will be gone. It’s been only two months since they hatched!

This little bugger just had a big meal, accounting for its huge, swollen crop (no, it’s not a goiter, and no, it’s not overfed, just digesting):

Like last year, Honey begins molting when her babies start flying away. You can see in these two photos that her primary wing feathers are gone. She cannot fly.

And a comparison with one of her offspring (foreground), which has its primary feathers crossed over in the rear. Honey won’t get her feathers back for at least two weeks, so she’s a bit skittish and secretive. She gets extra mealworms for protein to rebuild her plumage.

Note that all of her offspring look alike: you can’t tell the drakes from the hens, and won’t be able to for a few months. The only way to tell is how they sound: if a juvenile quacks, it’s a female. (Drakes can’t make the classic mallard “quack”, even as adults.)

Dorothy’s kids always stay clumped when ashore. I love the little leg sticking out in the heat!

 

15 Comments

  1. Frank Bath
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Dorothy and co under the hostas is a great photo. A winner.

  2. Posted July 6, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that’s pretty damn hot! The water in the pond must be pretty hot, too. Poor ducks. And poor PCC(E). 😉

  3. jezgrove
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Wow, the first brood is heading off already. Time flies – almost as quickly as ducklings, apparently…!

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Given the weather, it seems an apt time for one of the hottest tunes by one of the coolest cats ever:

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Love Sly!

    • rickflick
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Another summer song:

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Careful, Jerry. Don’t get overheated, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

  6. Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Your duck reports always cheer me up, Jerry. Thanks for all the wonderful things you do!

  7. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    It looks like Dorothy is getting the hang of motherhood.

    I think having her first brood stolen set her back a little.

    L

    • Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, she’s improving all the time. The loss of that first little one seems to have also focused her duck mind.

  8. Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Very heartwarming!

  9. Glenda Palmer
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    All the posts are interesting to me but I do look forward to the duck reports. Been wondering about something given your special ability to observe the ducklings at Botany pond. Have you ever noticed or suspected slight colour change to the bills? I’m thinking – beginnings of orange/grey for the females and green/yellow for the males at around seven or eight weeks. Sometimes I think I can see subtle changes on the young ones here on Mill Creek.

    • Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I have heard that but haven’t looked too closely. I’ll try to check Honey’s juveniles tomorrow before they all leave!

  10. Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    And while we’ll get a little bit of relief this weekend, every day is going to be hot this week it seems. The air quality has been bad too so be careful of your lungs.

  11. Posted July 6, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    It seems such a short time ago that the nestlings hit the ground and now they’re leaving home. I wonder how many will try to return to Botany Pond next season. You may have to get the equivalence of duck condos built!

    I especially enjoy Dot’s babies with the full crops. Reminds me of pictures of squirrels with very full cheeks. The one duckling’s foot sticking out is so cute. The wary open eyes of some of the siblings is quite a contrast with the others’ closed eyes.


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