We are feeding and watering the eleven “dorm ducks” (Maria and her ten babies) three times a week, and they’re growing like weeds. But I tell you, it’s a big job, as we have to cart all the food and water three blocks from my lab (there’s no hose). But our reward is that there are still ten babies (well, adolescents) and they look terrific! MAH-VELOUS, in fact! Click the pictures to enlarge them.
Here are some pictures and videos. Thanks to the other two members of Team Duck, Gracemary and Marie, for their constant help.
First, Maria and her babies. She has a spectacular speculum (the flash of blue feathers on her side). They love the rain, as they can splash around in the puddles and hunker down with their bellies in the water. If there were a hose on the plaza it would be a lot easier, but all the irrigation is drip irrigation, so we need to cart over about ten gallons of water (along with duckling chow and mealworms) each visit: M, W, F.
The brood: ten—count them—ten!
A panorama of one side of the plaza with food and water. We have the same setup on the other side:
They like to crowd into water to have a bath and a drink. Here’s the first of two videos.
The lovely Maria. A great mom!
This is a bill identification picture in case she should return next year. We don’t want her to nest there, though!
We gave them frozen defrosted corn; they loved it!
Marie looking up; I think a bird flew over, but it wasn’t a raptor:
A lucky duckling gets its own tub, and then exits for a feed, followed by its littermates. They get only the best food: Mazuri Waterfowl Starter Chow (they’ll soon graduate to Duck Maintenance Chow) and freeze-dried mealworms, which they love.
The lucky duck:
Rub-a-dub-dub, seven ducks in a tub. We now have a bigger basin for them to swim in, and will increase the size of their “pool” as they get bigger (they have to be able to get in and out):
Wish us luck. If any U of C people are reading and want to volunteer to help, please get in touch with me.
And to think that I was looking forward to a duck-free summer!