Sunday ducks: pictures and movies

March 28, 2021 • 2:45 pm

The hens seem to have chosen their nesting spots, with Dorothy now sitting and spending the night on the same third-floor windowsill above the pond where she incubated eggs last year—twice. Honey, to our relief, seems, to have decided to build her nest also facing the pond this year, as there’s a hawk nest on the other side of the building. Honey and Dorothy will soon be sitting on eggs on the third floor of Erman Hall, with one hen at each end of the row of windows. This means, of course, that they might produce ducklings at about the same time, but we won’t think about that now.

The other day I hear a rustling on my office windowsill, and thought it was squirrels scurrying about. But it was a LOUD rustling, and I opened the blinds to find Dorothy and Shmuley sitting on my windowsill. When I peeked out at them to take a photo, they got spooked and flew away. I wouldn’t want them nesting there anyway, but perhaps they were just up there for the view. This is the first time I’ve had ducks outside my window:

(Click the pictures to enlarge them.)

Here’s the Armada. Left to right: Honey, Dorothy, and Shmuley. All three ducks are in excellent condition.

The two hen friends. You should by now be able to tell Honey and Dorothy apart.

Dorothy surveys the world from her future nest site:

For a while Honey sat in the windowsill on the non-pond side of the building, which was not good because her ducklings would have had to jump onto a cement porch (last year Facilities built a mulch-filled trampoline there). But she changed her mind, probably because about 40 feet away some red-tailed hawks had built a nest. Here she is, sitting tall and proud, before she changed venues:

The other morning Dorothy and Honey had a quackfest, with Dorothy sitting up on her third-floor windowsill and Honey standing below by the pond. They quacked at each other for about half an hour. Here’s how it began, with Dorothy looking around. Look how she can turn her neck about 180 degrees!

Dorothy in full quack mode:

A head shot of the lovely Dorothy. Look at those beautiful brown eyes!

More of the Quackfest:

Honey quacking back (you can hear both hens going at it), and walking toward Dorothy:

 

The resplendent drake Shmuley, who’s probably going to be the father of both broods.

He has a fine iridescent green-and-purple head:

All of the Armada, but especially Honey and Shmuley, go after interloper ducks in the pond, and don’t rest until they’re driven away. Here’s Shmuley going after Clinton, the mate of our ballerina duck Misty (she doesn’t come around any more).

Honey helps with the pond-clearing. Note her “clucking” sound: noises she makes only when being aggressive:

Some of the members of Team Duck (the gang of helpers who tend the adults and ducklings), contemplating the upcoming season.

 

7 thoughts on “Sunday ducks: pictures and movies

  1. Always great to have a photo and video update of the goings on at Botany Pond.

    You say, “I wouldn’t want them nesting there anyway, but perhaps they were just up there for the view. This is the first time I’ve had ducks outside my window.”

    Why is your window a bad location? Wouldn’t it make following progress easier, or is the problem that they would be too likely to be disturbed by your daily activities? Are the other offices with pond-side window ledges less busy?

    1. No, they’re easily spooked when nesting, so I would have to keep the blinds down and resist the urge to peek at them, and it’s not optimal. Nesting where nobody looks at them (though Honey’s nest is on a lab window, which we’re going to cover with cardboard) is best

  2. The other day I hear a rustling on my office windowsill, and thought it was squirrels scurrying about. But it was a LOUD rustling …

    Maybe they were using your windowsill as their pied-à-terre for makin’ whoopee.

  3. So now the fun begins. I have been following Botany Pond events for a couple of years. Better than any TV programming. YAY Jerry Coyne.

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