I estimate that at least one brood of ducklings (probably Dorothy’s) will hatch in the next week, and Honey’s brood will hatch soon thereafter. Both hens have been sitting tight on their nests for a few weeks, coming down to the pond only for an hour every one to three days for a drink and a snack. (I have to peek at the pond every 15 minutes or so to see if there’s a hen there, as I have to rush down to feed her since they are always eager to get back to their nest.
Today Honey came down, got a hearty feed, and then, as usual, bathed and preened herself for a long time before flying up to her nest. I took advantage of her being on the pond to sneak up to the third floor of Erman hall to have a peek at her nest.
First, the Queen herself: Ms. Honey. She’s in excellent shape, because most hens eat almost nothing while incubating, but she flies down and gets fed a two-course meal (pellets and mealworms). She’s nice and plump, and ready to care for ducklings.
And her vigorous bath:
A happy and immaculate hen:
Her mate Shmuley, of course, was close by:
And her nest. I counted 7 visible eggs, but there are undoubtedly more buried in the fluff. These pictures aren’t great because I had to take them through a screen, and the autofocus focused on the screen. The eggs are nestled in the feathers that Honey plucked from her breast, and are pastel green, as all mallard eggs are.
Four eggs. Just imagine—each of these will become a duckling!
And the moment when Honey decided she’d been off her nest long enough, and flew back up. Just a few milliseconds earlier and I would have had a complete photo, but it’s hard to time when she’s going to take off: