Monday: Duck report

All is well in Botany Pond: the turtles are thriving and getting lots of sun, and the ducklings are HUGE (and still eight in number):

They’re not as big as Honey, but they’re getting there:

They’ve lost all of their down, and are now filling in their feathers. I still can’t sex them, but with the help of Tara Tanaka I learned that juveniles can sometimes be distinguished because the upper tail coverts of males are tipped with green, while those of females are brown. At this point I can’t see a difference, but the chance that all eight ducks are of one sex is  2 X (½ to the eighth power) or 0.008 (.8%).

It’s hard to feed them and take photos at the same time, but here I’ve just tossed them corn, which is hitting the water. The ducklings are good at dabbling now, and can easily get corn before it sinks to the bottom. As always, Honey is behind the brood and watching attentively.

BATHTIME! As usual, they use one of the cement rings as a bathtub:

And the obligatory picture of Duck of the Year:


  1. busterggi
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Nothing like having actual wild critters for friends.

  2. George
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Are they still ducklings? Is there a word for duck teenagers?

    Now Honey needs to pay less attention to her brood and start putting on weight. We want her back next year. So Honey – GET FAT!!!! And avoid anyone (particularly Chinese) with a cleaver.

    • Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      She doesn’t look too skinny to me, and I try to make sure she gets a decent amount of food at mealtime, though she always eats less than the ducklings. And remember, they’ll fly away and she will stay behind for several weeks while she’s molting.

      • George
        Posted June 25, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Early on, I thought you were concerned about Honey. Has that passed?

        • Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:23 am | Permalink

          Yes; she seems to be plump enough and doing well.

          • Dominic
            Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

            can you get them ringed?

  3. Posted June 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    They’re getting so big! Honey and her crew are lucky to have such a caring ‘uncle’!

    Thanks for sharing your avian family with us all — I look forward to the duck reports every(ish) day.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted June 25, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Me too. It’s the highlight of my day. Who knew we can all get so attached to duckies not even in the same country as me? Thanks to PCCE for doing this. Very touching.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted June 25, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Now that they’re getting bigger and less physically vulnerable to predators, it might be time for a fatherly (or unclish) chat about the dangers facing the young adult: drugs, fast cars, and STDs – which are emphatically NOT caught by pooping in public ponds.

      I also wonder if any of them will choose to identify as turtles?

      Not that there’s…etc.

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    That’s a very handsome photo of Honey, with the water of the pond taking on an almost abstract expressionist cast, and imparting its reflected colors to Honey’s feathers and bill.

    • Liz
      Posted June 25, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink


  5. Hempenstein
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Just wait till next year when they all come back to nest. Not speaking from experience, but as a friend of someone who had such an experience.

  6. ladyatheist
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Is that turtle hanging around hoping for some leftovers?

  7. Diane G
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Are they growing exponentially?! 😉 Always amazes me how fast some birds mature.

  8. yazikus
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink


  9. Roger
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Queen of all she surveys!

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