RIP, one of our juvenile mallards

July 28, 2022 • 10:00 am

We have had two young ducklings, offspring of Audrey, disappear in the last two days. Since they’ve just learned to fly, I hoped that they simply flew away.

And indeed one did, but to its death. I was called this morning by a student who knew me, telling me that there was a dead mallard in front of the Regenstein library, right across the street from the pond. I immediately knew what happened. I ran across the street, and sure enough, it was one of our “babies”. It had flown away, but wasn’t able to see the building. It had clearly been killed instantly.

I am putting up photos, but you don’t have to look.  I just hope the first one that disappeared yesterday made it to safety.

In situ:

Our baby. It was so beautiful.

These wings were meant to help it soar high up and away to the south.

Please don’t tell me that the library should do something about its windows so this won’t happen to birds. I will ask about that, of course, but today I don’t need advice. Posting will be light or nonexistent for the rest of the day.

Facilities has a procedure for disposing of dead animals, and I’ve asked them to take care of it. But first I carried it back to the pond where it grew up, and laid it down there. It will be taken away.

It’s been a tough year at the pond, what with the antagonism, the need to rescue newborns, the separation of mothers from babies, and now this. This baby never got the chance to live out its life in the wild as a free mallard.

RIP, sweet duckling. We helped them grow up from the very first day they entered the pond. I hope the others don’t meet this fate.

24 thoughts on “RIP, one of our juvenile mallards

  1. … what can one say … nothing easy about this.

    The care is magnificent – let that be known.

  2. ^^^^ that is, it should inspire future care for the ducks.

    See? I can’t write anything helpful or supportive, try as I might.

  3. This year’s pond drama is too damn intense. Poor little duckling, dying before tasting the freedom of flight and wild life.

  4. Ugh, that’s so sad. My sincerest condolences to you, and best wishes for the other ducklings. I hope things brighten up at the pond.

  5. It is always hard to see death close up. Usually we never see dead animals at all because they die
    in the woods or the water away from people, or they are caught and eaten by raptors. But when we
    get close to them we forget they are wild, not domesticated and therefore live their life differently from us. I respect the way you dealt with this. I personally would have honored the duck by eating it and thus recycling it just as if it were buried or cremated. My late husband and I ate road kill quite a bit:
    pheasants, an occasional possum (baked with taters; the liver is delicious), and once after we found a dead Canvasback duck under the Brooklyn Bridge….the tastiest duck of all. We did scavenge a dead Canada goose once from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge but it was very tough. My husband was responsible for plucking them and I did the cleaning and cooking. Skinning the possum was a bit difficult, I admit. I didnt have the right knife.

  6. Oh dear. Not much comfort, but one can hope that it was experiencing the thrill of wind through its feathers and a ‘bird’s-eye view’ before dying. Wish there were words to soothe the grief that comes from being so integrally tied to these duckling families. Condolences.

    1. I’m told that the campus has an initiative to make bird collisions less likely, and that Regenstein Library is the worst offender. But nothing has been done to the library, and I don’t know about other buildings.

  7. What a beautiful bird, and thoroughly enjoyed its life before crashing, and then it was over in a second. As life and death on this earth go for us sentient beings, this was a good one.

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