Sunday ducks

March 7, 2021 • 2:30 pm

The weather is warming up here, and Honey may begin building her nest within a few weeks. Let’s hope it isn’t on the east side of the biology building like last year, a location requiring some provision for a soft landing for the ducklings. I’m also hoping that Honey and Rosie (Rosalind) don’t breed at the same time, either, as that may lead to more kidnappings this year.

By the way, photos of Rosie’s bill show a remarkable similarity to that of Dorothy’s bill taken last year, so there’s a fair chance that Dorothy has come back again with Honey. More data to come. . .

But today let’s not worry; let’s enjoy some photos of our favorite mallards.

First, an itinerant hen and her handsome drake. I am not feeding any ducks other than Honey, Rosie, and the drake Shmuley, as I don’t want the pond crowded with ducks, nor do I want more than two broods of ducklings if I can avoid it.

The ice on the pond is melting rapidly, and will be gone in less than a week. Below you can see Honey, Rosie, and Shmuley (“Honey’s Armada”) driving the other ducks out of the pond and onto the ice:

The Armada, with Honey to the left:

Honey and the father of her future ducklings (I think, for paternity isn’t assured without a PCR test). I did see them mate, but that’s not dispositive.

After lunch yesterday, the Armada retired to the South Duck island for a vigorous preen and a snooze. Here are two videos of the preening:

And single shots of the preening. Rosie is the main subject.

Note the serrations (“teeth”) on the bill, which act as strainers when the ducks dabble, taking in mouthfuls of mud and water that are then expelled with the goodies retained—much like a baleen whale.

Honey and Rosie: BFFs. Remember how Honey and Dorothy were BFFs too last year? That is, until they produced ducklings within two days of each other.

Honey’s Armada (Honey to the right):

 

11 thoughts on “Sunday ducks

  1. Yikes! So Rosie might be Dot in the latest duck-based soap opera twist? And nice to see that Honey’s drake Shmuley has a name – though I hope that Honey’s Armada doesn’t run into Francis Drake.

    1. It’s pretty certain now that Rosie is indeed Dorothy from last year; forensic bill examination shows a match. We will therefore change her name to Dorothy forthwith. It is amazing!

  2. MY DUCKS ARE BACK!

    There is a series of three retention/detention ponds not far from where I live. You can see them (hopefully) on this google map.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@41.992887,-88.1721005,1162m/data=!3m1!1e3

    They are located at the intersection of Prospect and the railroad tracks. The northwest quadrant has housing. The southwest quadrant has a deep pond that always has water in it but steep banks. Not much in the way of birds. Southeast is usually empty, fills up after large storms but empties quickly. The northeast pond is the most interesting. There is always some water there – the amount varies. Surrounded by trees and not that easy to access.

    There is a permanent colony of Canada geese. When spring comes, there are sandhill cranes, egrets, storks, and more. And ducks!!! They all coexist. It is a great habitat. I drive past it frequently. Pull over at least once a week. It is hard to access but it is fun to see. There are a lot of raptors in this area – hawks, red tailed and coopers. There is a nearby forest preserve called Hawk Hollow. So the young are always in danger. There has been a nesting pair of bald eagles not far away. I know the general but not specific location. I once saw one of the eagles cruising over the pond.

    This pond is only six years old. It was built to alleviate flooding. It has become a cool place to watch wildlife.

    1. What a great spot to birdwatch and escape from everything!

      Honey’s female companion sure looks like Dorothy (that dot!), as Jerry was saying. It’s going to be another spectacle this year, with those two at it again.

      1. I saw a duck today at the park and it had the blue! I was so surprised to see it. I think maybe I never noticed it before seeing how blue it was in your pictures. I haven’t checked yet to see if my picture is good or not.

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