Ducks: Frank fed by hand, drives off interloper drake

In my absence, Anna Mueller, the daughter of a colleague and now a professor of human development at my university, has taken over duck-feeding duties with the help of her graduate student Sanja Miklin. She took two photos of activities at the pond, and also reported that the mallard hen, my beloved Honey, still hasn’t shown up.

While we wait on tenterhooks, here are two videos taken by Anna. The first shows Frank being fed corn by hand. He used to be very shy about eating at all, but he’s come around, as you can see clearly. He’s a Good Duck!

In this video, another drake showed up. Frank has a pale breast (suggesting he’s a hybrid between a wild mallard and a domestic version—the white “Peking Duck”), while the interloper Pirate Duck has the usual brown breast. Note how Frank keeps the Pirate Duck from the corn.

I like to think that Frank is protecting the pond, awaiting the arrival of Honey and her ducklings. Perhaps his sweet temperament is due to genes from a domestic-duck parent. Note too that Frank doesn’t peck or directly attack his rival, but simply uses his body to block his access to the food. Frank is a gentle soul!

h/t: Joan Strassmann


  1. Jiten
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    A gentle soul would share his food!

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    … Frank is protecting the pond, awaiting the arrival of Honey and her ducklings.

    Perhaps a touch of the Pathetic Fallacy?

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I like Frank. He is a good duck.
    If there is a pond nearby with protective reeds, or a larger island, perhaps Honey has set up shop there. I would check Google maps, fanning outward from the campus.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted April 26, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t resist. There is Washington Park to the West and Jackson Park to the East.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    “Tenterhooks are hooks in a device called a tenter. Tenters were originally large wooden frames which were used as far back as the 14th century in the process of making woollen cloth. After a piece of cloth was woven, it still contained oil and dirt from the fleece. A craftsman called a fuller (also called a tucker or wa[u]lker) cleaned the woollen cloth in a fulling mill, and then had to dry it carefully or the woollen fabric would shrink.”

    Source : where do you think?!

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted April 26, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I was very anxiously waiting for someone to explain this. In fact, one could say I was on …
      oh, nevermind.

  5. busterggi
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    No eyepatch, no peg-leg – that other duck may be a poacher but he’s no pirate.

  6. jellen
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    At Michigan State sixty years ago, so many mating mallard pairs crowded the sidewalk that students had to pay attention not to trip over them. Others mated in the water, the drakes so exuberant that thought the hens would drown.

  7. Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Hoping for happy news about Frank’s Honey. Is she not up on that 2nd floor ledge?

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