Tuesday: Duck and squirrel report

The pictures in the duck reports usually come from the previous day, and here are Monday’s duck snaps. I have found that sexing these little buggers is no easy task. The best way is to pick them up and inspect (and squeeze) the genitals, or somehow force them to make a noise. Female ducklings will quack; males will squeak. (You did know that only female mallards quack, right?) But I’m not picking up these precious little bundles of feathers: I don’t want to spook them.

Look at how big they are! Their appetites are huge, and have to feed them twice as much as I did just ten days ago. Most of their down is gone, with only a little behind their wings, and those wings are growing. It’s satisfying to think that those little stubs of wings will get so big and feathery that in a few weeks they can carry the birds hundreds of miles through the sky.

Dabbling time! Mom watches with a weather eye as her offspring learn to feed themselves.

Looking good!

Satisfied, Honey gives them an “A” and moves on:

I have bonded with this duck; who would have thought that I’d feel love for a waterfowl?

I haven’t written much about my squirrels, as I haven’t been paying them as much attention as the ducks this spring. But I still feed them, and several old and young ones partake of sunflower seeds and peanuts. Here’s a veteran squirrel standing erect:

Today I tried an experiment. I had a bowl of oatmeal with milk, raisins, and a bit of sugar for breakfast. I couldn’t finish it, so I decided to see if the squirrels would like it. This one, at least, did!

More tomorrow. . . . .

 

15 Comments

  1. Barry Lyons
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    It seems like I’ve only been paying attention to your duck reports for a couple of weeks. How long has it been? Anyway, these ducks are growing super fast!

  2. Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if I’ll live long enough for geneticists/neurologists to figure out how instincts are hardwired and genetically instructed in the brain.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I did not know that – females quack and males only squeak. Is that also true with Canada geese? I have a female cat that squeaks.

    The urban dweller can get around the wild life with the addition of water. With water lots of things are possible in the city. Then add food and you have even more.

  4. Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    “who would have thought that I’d feel love for a waterfowl?”

    Or a squirrel, raccoon , fox, cat or fruit flies… It’s a mystery!

  5. Posted June 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    They are quite big already!

  6. George
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    An artistic photo of Botany Pond from the uchicagoadmissions instagram page:

  7. George
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Another nice picture from the uchicagoadmissions instagram page. This is Cobb Gate. The perspective is from someone looking north. Beyond the gate is 57th Street and Regenstein Library. Botany Pond would be to your right.

  8. Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    At what age do the heads of the drakes start to turn green?

  9. Don Mackay
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    The squirrels’ fur looks a bit rough; are they moulting perhaps, or is there some skin nasty chewing away at the fibres? I am wondering if adding sugar to their diet is problematic; does a chubby squirrel have sufficient scampering ability to escape predators?

    • Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      My mother used to feed $60 of unshelled walnuts to a group of local squirrels, bowling the nuts towards them about 12 feet away, and they’d scamper to catch them first. After several months of this, squirrels sat there saying ‘Could you just put them done here?’ Then ended up not just chubby, but obese!

  10. David Coxill
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Well ,if some one picked me up and squeezed my genitals i would do a lot more than squeak .

    On a more serious note ,is there anyway you could ring Honey and the ducklings ?

    I expect the practice of ringing birds is controlled in America like it is in GB .

    It would be interesting to see how many come back next year.

  11. Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    The fact that we humans can love members of other species is an abiding mystery to me. I know it has to do with our maternal/paternal instinct, but it still surprises me. I still feel intense grief from my lost pets.

  12. Roger
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Wait, did they just “moon” everyone again?

  13. Melanie
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the ducky updates. With all the horrific news (and “news”), I feel bombarded from all sides. This is an oasis. Thank you!

  14. Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    So to sex a duckling you have to do to them what the airport security guys do to PCC(E)?


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