Thursday: DuckLog (with added mating!)

**COPULATION UPDATE!!** After today’s afternoon repast, the ducks swam around the pond, and all of a sudden both of them went completely underwater and disappeared. Then they surfaced far from where they disappeared: they’d apparently swum very quickly underwater. Then they did it again, except this time only Frank surfaced. When I looked closely, though, he was on top of Honey, who was almost submerged. It was clear that they were mating, and the deed was over in a few seconds. The warm weather (I went outside in just a light shirt) has made them frisky, and this presages some ducklings!

I hadn’t seen mating before, so this is a new one on me.

***********

These will be my last duck photos for a while, as I’m leaving tomorrow. The good news is that I’ve found a ducksitter—actually two: a new assistant professor here whose mom I know, and the grad student of that prof. I’ll put up photos of them later if I get their permission. They are both animal lovers, so I’m leaving Honey and Sir Francis in good hands. I showed the student the ropes this morning, and she’s taken to the task like a duck to water.

Here’s Frank coming ashore to get his morning corn (Honey had already eaten):

Honey doing postprandial preening on the duck island (I’m promised that the water level will be lowered, making more islands available):

Frank on the water:

And I was told by a resident of the Botany Building that he saw the ducks flying down to the pond from a second-floor window this morning. I had no idea, but apparently Frank and Honey nest up there, right above the soft vegetation of the bank, to keep the nest away from predators. And if that’s the case, then, like wood ducks, the mother will fly down and incite the newly-hatched ducklings to plummet from the nest to the ground. Since they’re so light, that fall won’t hurt them, and they’ll be in the pond within seconds.

Stay tuned for duckling news. (I don’t think they’ve yet laid eggs, and it will be a month before any eggs hatch.)

I’ve circled the putative nest, which looks like a pile of leaves:

35 Comments

  1. Craw
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh.
    I thought it was a PCC(E) copulation update.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      A gentleman never kisses and tells.

  2. Posted April 12, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Did they light up and order pizza?

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted April 12, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Smoked and pizza aside, they certainly had some semi-awkward conversation…DAMMIT!!..now I’ve got that earworm thing about muskrat Susie muskrat Sam…

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Be careful, or the DOJ will pull a Backpage and come after you and your website for disseminating duck and other animal porn and other salacious material, including insect and nudibranch porn. Mating mantises, and alglefish, motorboarding handfish — obscene! Scandalous!

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      And the leaders of the Women’s March won’t come to your defense (thank goodness!)

    • Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      At least, the photos should not be put on Facebook, because someone may complain.

  4. Christopher
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Well, is that room open in the botany building so you could sneak a peek out at the nest? I assume it’s not a high-traffic room, at least not next to that window, or they might have been scared off by hoomans but I could be wrong. It would be neat to see egg pictures, or even better, hatching pictures!

    • Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I could but I’m leaving. The lab is that of a colleague I know and I’m sure she’d let me take a peek and maybe some photos. If there are no ducklings when I come back in two weeks, I’ll go up there and see what is to be seen.

  5. Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Eggsciting! It would be tempting to peek out that window to see what is going on in the nest. But I suppose one shouldn’t .

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I hear birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it, why not ducks? (Nobody but nobody swung the Great American Songbook like Ella.)

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Don’t let Trump or the current gov. of Missouri get near any females of any species.

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Governor Cretin is obviously taking his (WITCH HUNT!!) defense strategy directly from the playbook of Spanky Junk tRUMP.

        • W.T. Effingham
          Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          This strategy just may work in the state of Misery, which culturally is the extreme northwest corner of southeast Kentarklahoma.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Here’s Frank coming ashore to get his morning corn (Honey had already eaten)

    At least Frank didn’t ask Honey to get up and make him a sammich après-boom-boom.

    A gentledrake through and through.

  8. Liz
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Splashin’ passion.

  9. amyt
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Nothing like a cloacal kiss (technical ornithological term). 😉

    • mudskipper
      Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      When it comes to ducks, more than just a kiss is involved. Google “duck penis.”

      • Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Indeed! I have a picture floating around on my computer somewhere of a wine corkscrew with a little duck handle on top. That is pretty much the idea there.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    It was clear that they were mating, and the deed was over in a few seconds.

    Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’amhen.

    • Liz
      Posted April 12, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Premature equackulation.

  11. Rita
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    “Morning Corn” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exqDhEkQrMA

  12. Posted April 12, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Cute, I love ducklings!

  13. Roger
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I hope they’re in love because if they aren’t they might regret this in the morning.

    • Posted April 12, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, I don’t think he asked for positive and affirmative consent. At least it didn’t look like it!

      “Can I half drown you now?”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 12, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Not my fetish, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The erotic properties of partial asphyxiation are pretty well established going back to the literature of de Sade.

        Who knew that innocent-looking little duck of yours had one webbed foot planted in the world of kink? 🙂

  14. John S
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Any chance you, when you get back, could get some friends in IT or theater arts to set up a duckcam from a neighboring building?

    (If they can do lobsters, ducks should be a piece of suet.)

  15. squidmaster
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Duck sex is actually quite interesting. Apparently the females have a corkscrew vagina (with a different handedness from the males corkscrew penis, not sure what that’s about) and there are ‘dead ends’ that can prevent fertilization, presumably giving the female some control over who fertilizes the eggs. Elaboration from a duck sex specialist would be apppreciated.

    • Posted April 13, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      Not a specialist, but I read that the situation is much like you suggest. There are conflicts of interest between males and females where the female is under selection for having more than one male fertilize eggs, for greater diversity of her offspring, and the male is under selection to fertilize as many eggs as possible. So it sounds cliche’ but there is an evolutionary arms race between the sexes and in ducks that plays out in their wacky reproductive organs.

      • Neil Wolfe
        Posted April 13, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Is there something unusual about a corkscrew penis? Asking for a friend…

  16. Posted April 13, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I used to always wonder where birdnests actually were, now I see them everywhere. They just sort of started visually “popping out” to me, and I don’t know why. Have fun with the neighbours!

  17. Andrea Kenner
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Awwwww…. true love! Thank you for posting, and I will look forward to stories of the little baby ducks!

  18. Posted April 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Given that Franky is a Mallard hybrid without the typical brown bib, I’m eager to see how the ducklings, if any, turn out.


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