The duck news is pretty good: Dorothy and her six babies are all in excellent shape, and, after her molt, she and her kids are all about ready to fly. I expect to see some rudimentary flying within ten days or so. Honey comes and goes, visiting the pond for about two days at a time, and then leaving. Lord knows where she goes, but when she’s here I feed her well: a three-course meal of duck chow, mealworms, and corn. She remains the Queen of the Pond, with no duck able to displace or chase her. She, on the other hand, is dominant over all other ducks.
And we have varied numbers of visiting ducks, mostly hens but also some drakes who haven’t “greened up”. The “pensioners” range from 12-20 in number, and since I can’t bear not to feed them (not to mention that it would be impossible to withhold food from them while trying to feed Honey and Dorothy and her kids), they’re eating me out of house and home. I spend way more on duck food than on my own food! But that’s okay by me: I get great pleasure farming ducks. The crop this year is good.
Here are a few recent pictures (videos to come).
Dorothy, with the dot on the right side of her bill clearly visible.
Note the distinctive spotted left side of her bill, which may come in handy for identification next year:
A wing shot. Her flight feathers aren’t fully grown in, but they’re getting there:
One of her babies resting on the Sacred Mound. It’s hard to believe that just 7 weeks ago they were tiny little yellow fuzzballs. Now they’re “mini ducks”: freshly minted and beautiful mallards.
Note how far back on their body their legs are. This is ideal for swimming, but not so great for walking, which is why ducks waddle on land.
And remember, just a few weeks ago these juveniles looked like this:
One of Dorothy’s babies nibbling the algae off the back of a turtle. They enjoy these portable snacks.
An itinerant Dali duck with its bill open:
And a slightly out-of-focus but weird-looking brown duck:
We have a new mallard at the pond whom I call “Rudolph”, after Rudolph Valentino. Although he’s not yet greened up, he’s the handsomest mallard I’ve seen yet: dark of feather and huge of size. I’m hoping that he’d become Honey’s boyfriend, but she shows no interest in him and seems to be hanging around with a less handsome duck. Who knows what hens want?