Sunday: Duck report

All is still well at Botany Pond, though it’s hot today (about 35°C), and I fed everyone early so they could nap during the heat of the day. When I was approaching the pond this morning, a rather large mammal was walking on the nearby sidewalk. I thought, “Holy jeez: that’s a big cat!” before realizing it was a honking huge raccoon. I didn’t get a picture but I’m a bit worried it could snack on a duckling. I drove it away with a few shouts.

The pond is looking well, thanks to Spring and the landscaping crew. This is the small and shallow part of the pond, where I often feed the ducklings while sitting on the platform in the foreground. It’s also shallow enough for them to dabble and reach the bottom (see photos below):

The ducklings are growing, and are getting closer in size to Honey. They’re also shaped like adult ducks instead of round bathtub rubber ducks:

They’re growing their feathers in too, starting from the neck backward and the butt forward. There’s only a bit of yellow down left now; they’re becoming brown ducks:

But they’re still cute:

Here’s mom, her lovely appearance marred by a grain of corn that landed on her. It’s like having spinach in your teeth.

Yesterday the ducklings started to dabble big time, going upside down in the shallow end of the pond where they can reach the bottom for food. I’m not sure whether they learned any of this from Honey or whether it’s instinctive (I suspect mostly the latter), but she observes their dabbling intently:

Everybody upside down!


  1. Posted June 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    “It’s like having spinach in your teeth.” Or cassoulet on your shirt. 😉 By the way, I am making something cassoulet-adjacent for dinner tonight.

  2. Posted June 17, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Since you favor ducklings over honking huge raccoons, I wonder if you’ve ever devoted a post to species favoritism in humans.

  3. Posted June 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    The pond is so lovely and so are the ducklets(?)… they are looking very big!

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 17, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Sure hope that raccoon doesn’t return; he’d decimate the ducks, and might well have a gang to join in.

  5. tomh
    Posted June 17, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I never see ducks in that pose without thinking of the Ogden Nash poem, Ducks, which ends, “When it dines or sups, It bottoms ups.”

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted June 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    If there was a prize for fastest-growing mallard ducklings in the country, these ought to win the 2018 award.

  7. Lars
    Posted June 17, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Any idea of where those turtles in the pond overwinter, Dr. CC?

    • Posted June 17, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m told they bury themselves in the mud at the bottom of the pond. They’re in there somewhere, that’s all I know.

      • Lars
        Posted June 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – didn’t realize that the pond is deep enough.

  8. Wayne Y Hoskisson
    Posted June 17, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Great to have duckings every morning. I see them in the email but rarely have time to read much till evening.

  9. mikeyc
    Posted June 17, 2018 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    I imagine Honey watches her young ones for signs that “They’re Ready”. When she sees that the next phase in her motherhood – letting go- begins.

  10. Dominic
    Posted June 18, 2018 at 3:12 am | Permalink


    I’d be dead!

  11. Roger
    Posted June 18, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Wait, did they just moon us?

  12. Monika
    Posted June 18, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Just like the German children’s song:

    Alle meine Entchen
    |: Schwimmen auf dem See 😐
    Köpfchen in das Wasser
    Schwänzchen in die Höh.

    All my little ducks
    |: Are swimming on the lake 😐
    Little head in the water
    Little tail up high.

  13. Posted June 18, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What a curious developmental pattern on the feathers. Love to know what does *that*.

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