Thursday: Duck report

If you asked me right now, “Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus): What is the purpose of your life?”, I suppose I’d say, “To make sure that all eight ducklings mature and fledge.”  So it goes. Anyway, all eight of them are still here, and growing rapidly (or so Anna tells me; I don’t notice size increases). They all look healthy and vigorous, and tomorrow should get their “duckling starter food” from Purina. I hope to Ceiling Cat they eat it!

While I was feeding the brood this afternoon, Anna dropped by with a grad student, Nora, just to see how things were going. Fortunately, Anna’s learned to carry mealworms with her, as you never know when the urge will strike to FEED DUCKS.  We thus were able to have three people feeding everyone, including the porky Frank and the skittish Hank.

First, the brood:

Aren’t they adorable? Notice that the tips of their beaks are reddish (don’t ask me why); at first I thought it was their tongues, but I don’t think so.

Nora feeding mealworms to the brood. I’m hoping that she develops a “duck bug,” as the more people to help out, the better. It takes a village to raise a brood!


Anna and Nora photographing the scene:

One of the few occasions when you can see me smile (photo by Anna). The blue latex glove keeps my hands from getting irritated when I crush mealworms (I’m allergic to them):

Yesterday two little girls helped me feed the ducks. They got to learn a little biology on the side. Their mom is to the right. (Photo by Trevor Price)

Finally, yesterday Anna took two videos. This one, “bath time,” is especially good, as you can see Mom’s ablutions and how the ducklings imitate her. Pay attention to the ducklings who dive completely under water and then, like a cork, pop up a few seconds later in a different place.

Be sure to watch these on full screen.

Here’s Honey shepherding her brood away from the noisome Frank:


  1. Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if there is a genetic component in the fascination with birds/ducks 🙂

    • Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps closely linked to the love for cats gene.

    • Liz
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if the tips of the beaks being reddish has anything to do with the tip of the herring gull bill having that red dot.

      • Doug
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        It could be lipstick.

        I once saw a duck buy some. When the clerk asked how she wanted to pay for it, she said “Just put it on my bill.”

        • Liz
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          That must be it!

  2. Paul S
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    They look larger and less fuzzy to me.

    • Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I can see the fuzziness disappearing but I’m oblivious to size changes so far.

  3. Frank Bath
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    In Britain you might hear women and girls called ‘ducks’. E.g. ‘thanks ducks’ when served at a till. There is also the expression of surprise, ‘Cor, love a duck!’

  4. Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Never before have I seen mallards dive completely. That’s fascinating.

    One of Finland’s 188 000 lakes is about a hundred meters from our door, and there are all sorts of duck broods at this time of year: Mergus serrator and Podiceps cristatus dive for long stretches, but our mallards only dabble, even as babies.

  5. Janet
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I am wondering if all the little ones who fledge there will return next year?

  6. Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    You have a beautiful smile.

    My displaying of this duck missive, photos and videos included two YouTube screens with four selections each from BGT. Did others receive these, or similar, ads? I do go check out the talent on these shows sometimes. So, maybe they were selected for me. But, I’m not used to having them show up in WEIT.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s a normal YouTube thing. They’re usually selected for your taste, but that can be affected by advertising and those that pay to have their videos presented to certain demographics.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The blue latex glove keeps my hands from getting irritated when I crush mealworms (I’m allergic to them)

    Same thing my proctologist tells me.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the update.

    I didn’t know the pond had an aerator. I imagine all successful ponds have one. In the video the droning was somewhat pleasant.

    • Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s supposed to be good for the animals, and there’s also a constant influx of fresh water.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Why your scene made me think of this I don’t know but when you look at the photos of those circles just below the surface it reminds me of the water at the U.S. Arizona memorial. The gun turret just below the surface on the deck of the battle ship.

    • Posted May 31, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes. You put your finger on it. My visit to the USS Arizona Memorial was one of the most moving experiences of my life. The circles in the duck pictures were triggering my limbic system and I didn’t know why. Thank you.

  10. Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Comparing your pictures from May 20 with the above, the ducklings have perhaps doubled in length in 11 days!

  11. Taskin
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Duck photos and duck videos! My day is complete

  12. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    An especially lovely duck report today!

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I propose yet another alter ego:

    Happy Duck Man

    did someone suggest it yet?

  14. Posted May 31, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    That smile becomes you, PCC(E).

    The babies are growing fast. Enjoy them to the fullest. Thanks for the happy posts.

  15. Melanie
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    The markings on those little duckies! How interesting! Thanks for all the updates. And you really do have a wonderful smile. 🙂

  16. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Great duck photos and videos! Hard to tell how much the duckling have grown from photos with no scale to compare them with. But they are definitely more duck-shaped and less fulfball-like.
    As an aside, what is the tree in the ‘tree-island’? Is it a Taxodium distichum (bald cypress? A bit far north, but ….

  17. Posted June 1, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Here in Cork we have our own breed of ducklings about to take to the water…
    Its the time of year when teenage boys egg each other on to display their courage by leaping 30 feet into…well, its usually about ten feet deep.

  18. Roger
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before, to make sure that all eight Honnettes mature and fledge.

    • Roger
      Posted June 1, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      And dump that Frank feller too while they’re at it.

  19. Posted June 1, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    And you’re allergic to the mealworms? Wow.

    That’s right up there with my friend who is obsessed with rabbits, considers herself metaphorically to be one, and yet is allergic to the real animals!

  20. Brian
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Do I detect Vonnegut in “so it goes”? 🙂

  21. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The ducklings definitely *have* grown!

  22. Hempenstein
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Also looks like a Metasequoia there beside you and the girls.

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