Chicago: Sunset with ducks

I believe this one was on Friday evening:

And—good news!—the mother mallard in the pond outside my building has brought a whole badelynge to fledging. In nearly every year, all the ducklings are killed by feral cats, or simply disappear, but now we have eight teenagers (mother and seven shown here):


  1. Sven DiMilo
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    In nearly every year, all the ducklings are killed by feral cats, or simply disappear,

    yeah, those latter are your snapping-turtle victims. They love poultry and hardly ever get any.

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Badelynge – that could be the secret word for WEIT posters. Is it Welsh? (Noted in passing too, same table lists flush or sord for mallards – who knew?)

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted July 5, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      “Who knew?”

      Exactly. I’m extremely skeptical of these lists of collective nouns. A “shrewdness” of apes? Seriously, who ever says that? Thinking these up is basically a word game for hard-core language nerds and has nothing to do with actual usage.

  3. daveau
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Well, congratulations to Mama Mallard!

  4. Josh
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I saw a pair of ducks (male & female) playing in a puddle on the corner of 56th and Ellis (near Ratner) a couple of months ago (I even took a crappy cell phone picture). I wonder if those were the same parents.

  5. Notagod
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s fun to watch ducks watch raptors.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Not for the ducks.

  6. Diane G.
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Noun: badelynge (plural badelynges)

    1.(archaic) A group of ducks on the ground.

    References: Sports and Pastimes of the British People, (book) 1801.

    –From Wiktionary

    Badelynge (pronounced ‘bad-ling’) is a little-known and obsolete collective noun for a group of ducks. Notable for its inclusion in the Dictionary Of Obsolete And Provincial English, Thomas Wright’s 1869 guide to English phrases that had fallen by the wayside, it is easy to see why the term ‘a badelynge of ducks’ is no longer in common use. Most of the words in Wright’s tome have been out of use for at least a hundred years.

    Alternate spellings include badelyng, omitting the final ‘e’, or even badling, which retains the same pronunciation but features an updated, more modern spelling.

    Modern alternatives to badelynge include a paddling, raft, team, flock or gang of ducks. Other outdated and obsolete alternatives include a smeath, plump or the slightly suggestive (and thus fantastic) ‘little knob of ducks’.


    Just two of many hits in a search. Fun word; and with the pronunciation given above it even sounds apt!

    (Advance apologies for any blockquote errors; I’m never sure if such spaced excerpts will work or not…)

  7. John Scanlon, FCD
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    If ‘paddle’ (intransitive verb) were formed as the diminutive of ‘bathe’ (i.e. to do so in shallow water, without full immersion), we could infer that ‘paddling’ is just the same word as ‘badelynge’. i.e. rather than the latter being a lost word, it’s remained in use with regular modern spelling.

    (Online dictionaries and my old Concise Oxford say there is no agreed etymology for paddle except for it being probably Germanic, but this is my theory which is mine)

    Oh, nice ducks.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 7, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

      That’s sort of what I was thinking! 😀

  8. Chris Booth
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    O, you skeptics, thinking those are ducks in the second photo. Look at the “V” formation. That is a fleet of UFOs.

    That’s the mother ship standing in front and then a squadron of subordinate, duck-shaped UFOs arrayed behind her.

    Lovely word, badelynge.

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