I was informed yesterday, not to my huge delight, that a mallard hen is nesting across the street from my office—on a window ledge at Regenstein Library. This would not normally be a problem, for when her babies hatched and jumped down one floor, we could herd them to BotanyPond (we’ve done it before from this area). The problem, of course, is that there IS no Botany Pond this year, which leaves us with a dilemma. Let nature take its course and let the mother lead the babies to water? But the nearest water is well over a mile and a half away: large ponds and lakes to the east and west, and the family would have to cross big and busy streets. Most of them would probably not make it.
The other solution is to get the ducklings as they drop, put them in a box, and take them to the rehab people. (This is what I did this morning.) While this assures complete survival of the brood, it requires breaking up the family, as it’s impossible to catch the mother duck and take the whole family to the water. \
Well, you can see the duck, whom the library folks have named Amy, at this site (be sure to press the “play” triangle), or by clicking on the screenshot below. I’m told the camera and feed will be upgraded soon.
In the meantime, I have about a month to get anxious; she just started incubating, and it’ll be about 28 days to Hatch Time. I had hoped to have a duckling-free season while Botany Pond got renovated, but it doesn’t seem to be working out.
Note to U of C people: this ledge is in an office, so don’t try seeing her from inside the library. And please don’t disturb her from the outside. Thanks!