Duck report

Well, we have eight ducklings still left, and they all look lively. I fed them this morning and all of them (ducklings first!) came to my whistle. I feed them in a special spot, while running back and forth to feed landlubbers Sir Francis and Henry, who would drive away mom and babies if I didn’t feed them in separate places. Here are four photos from yesterday’s feeding.

Now there are eight plus Honey:

Anna feeding them crushed mealworms. Note the duck ramp at upper right:

The ducklings have tentatively learned that the ramp is a place to rest, but are having trouble negotiating it all the way out of the pond. I’ve asked Physical Plant for a wider ramp, and they’ve tentatively agreed (I’m sure I’m a pain in the tuchas to them).

A big honking turtle discovered yesterday that the ramp was a good place to sun itself, so I had to chase him off (they have plenty of places to do that).


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Good progress!

    Life goes on….

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Is the white piece PVC?

  3. barn owl
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The ducklings look really cute on their ramp. Is the wood perhaps a bit slippery? Maybe some of those grippy strips or shapes you can put in bathtubs would help.

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, my thought also. Smooth wood gets a bit slimy when in water. Something with texture would help. Something like those concrete rain downspout/gutter blocks, if they were longer would help.

      Somewhere amongst this readership, there must be some pond owner/managers who know of a practical solution which would also be decorative, so the University would not object.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Bathtub strips are not designed to be outdoors.

      Sunlight – heat and UV – is clearly a factor here – mechanical – and not chemical adhesive – fastening would be required, and whatever fasteners are used and their platings have to be life-friendly.

      Stainless has nickel.

      … Duck feet must be good at getting around – I propose cutting grooves and patterns in that piece of cedar, for instance.

      • Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        There are strips designed for porch steps that might be OK to use here.

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Best solution is just to rough it up a bit. A few gentle passes with a cross cut saw would do it.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        That’s what I mean

        Could even use a file, or hack saw.

        Duck feet have some sort of toe nail don’t they?

  4. Dominic
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Would the turtle eat ducklings?

    Did you keep the duckling skull? I collect skulls…

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      No, I buried the duckling. So far I’ve never seen a turtle eat a duckling. The turtles’ mouths are too small, I think.

  5. Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    “Hey, Phil and Marge. It’s duck-man again on line one. Now he wants a wider ramp.”

  6. Sabine
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Yesterday was World Turtle Day. He was having a celebration 😉

  7. busterggi
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Anna had best watch her step – being nibbled to death by ducklings is a horrific way to go.

  8. George
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Frank (or one of his friends) is in the new cover picture on UofC’s Facebook page.

    PCC(e)’s office is to the right of the pic.

  9. nicky
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m impressed by your clout. To get a duck-ramp (a duck-ramp!!) in a bureaucracy within a few days is no mean feat. I do get these kind things done (if not doing it myself), but rarely in less than a year! Kudos!

    • George
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      While I am certain that PCC(e) has some clout, the Botany Pond is one of the treasures of the UofC campus. The entire campus is spectacular and immaculately maintained. The Main Quad is the star and Hull Court and the Botany Pond are the jewels of the Main Quad. If something needs attention, it gets immediate attention.

      And Facilities Service does a great job. Although I think that small part of the Main Quad falls under the auspices of the Physical Plant Department of University of Chicago Medicine – which is a separate corporation from the rest of the University. I think this division is common at most research universities. I assume there is some coordination between Facilities Services and Physical Plant – even though they use different names. Here are their web pages if you want to try to figure out the difference:

      Here is a talk from one of Jerry’s colleagues, Michael LaBarbera, on the Botany Pond –

      Rather than post links about the pond, just google – botany pond university of chicago – and pick articles and picture that interest you.

      • Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I’m grateful for the help I’ve gotten, and for the feedback about what is and what is not possible. The ducks, of course, are the jewel of Botany Pond :-). You should see how many people were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the ducklings today.

        They’re going to raise the water level so that the tree islands, which now have extra dirt and vegetation on them, will be easily accessible to the ducklings, and they might even be able to jump over the pond’s lip, which they can’t do now.

        If you’re in Hyde Park, come see this lovely spot! But don’t give bread to the ducks!

        • George
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          I will be visiting them on Friday, June 1, around 4 to 5pm.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Slowly but surely, Botany pond is becoming a duck and duckling haven thanks to the assiduous efforts of PCC(E). Love it!

  11. Diane Garlick
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:43 am | Permalink


  12. Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget the Disney Duck

%d bloggers like this: