Monday: Duck report

All the ducks are fine, and the “ducklings” must be very close to fledging, as their wings are large and have plenty of flight feathers. Honey is still molting, and has gone off her feed, eating only mealworms and corn and spurning the duckling chow. A birder friend tells me that this is typical during a molt.

I had a bit of a duck trauma the last several days. One of the ducklings was chased by the others repeatedly, and several times I saw her sitting by herself with her head tucked by her side. Here’s an example from yesterday morning. See her at the rear, resting while the others are foraging on the lawn?

And look how big the ducklings are! They are now full-sized ducks.

Look at this poor baby! When I approached her she didn’t move, but got alert, and I didn’t want to disturb her lest she needed her rest (I think it’s a female because it quacks).

But the good news is that she’s joined the pack again and is eating well and cavorting with the others. I wonder if she’d been chased so much that she withdrew. I’ll never know, but I’m delighted that she seems in good shape now.

Honey is still in molt, but is looking a bit better and her flight feathers are growing. I try to feed her up with lots of corn and mealworms, but the damn brood keeps interrupting:

My best girl. . . .well, my best girl who is feathered:

Ducks having lunch today. Look at that crazy duckling with a leaf on its back. Honey is in the rear.

Look at that crazy duck! I think he feels humiliated:

Spot the duck!

And we mustn’t forget our turtle friends, who scarf up all the leftover duck food:

And let us remember that exactly two months ago today, the ducklings looked like this:

21 Comments

  1. alexandra Moffat
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    When is the publishing date for The Story of Honey and Her Ducklings- with many photographs?
    Hereis my request for a first edition.

    Seriously –

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    PCC [E] on Honey:

    “My best girl….well, my best girl who is feathered”

    Do we know your non-feathered “best girl” among commenters here prof? Or did you meet her in one of the usual ways e.g. while walking a duck, squeezing an avocado at Wholefoods etc.

  3. busterggi
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    You’re gonna need a bigger bathtub.

  4. Roger
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I once saw an opossum coming up the road carrying leaves with its tail. It was kind of scary because I had no idea what the heck weird creature was coming at me. Then it dropped the leaves and skedaddled into the high grass (as best as an opossum can skedaddle lol.)

  5. Mark R.
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Spot the duck would be harder if it was the duck who was wearing lily pad camouflage. 🙂

  6. bingingonabudget
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    What a great post, I love seeing the progression of the ducks. What are some tips you have for getting good photos like this?

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Lovely, as always.

  8. Paul S
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think they qualify as ducklings anymore.
    Kids grow up fast.

  9. Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    In the Spot the Duck picture, can readers spot the 5th turtle? That one is a bit more challenging!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      There are TWO ducks in the picture.
      One facing left at the back of the greenery
      One looking at camera sitting in the water, in the gloom at very top of frame behind the turtles.

      I will now look for your fifth Beatle turtle. There might be a fifth turtle beneath the right-most turtle, but I’m not sure it’s another turtle.

      Looking…

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      No

    • Diane G
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 3:10 am | Permalink

      No. (But in the process I did find the 2nd duck.)

    • ratabago
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      There is what appears to be a turtle head poking up through the lilies almost in line with the hidden duck, and off to the left of it a way. But I can’t see it clearly enough to be 100% certain it’s a turtle.

  10. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    The duck that was being chased was probably not feeling well. I’m not conversant with bird diseases, but I know a lot about herd/flock behavior. When one of a group is unwell, the others pick on him/her because an ill herdmate/flockmate can slow the group down and make all of them more vulnerable to predators. It seems cruel, but it’s a survival mechanism.

    Since she’s now feeling better and has rejoined the flock, the aggression will stop.

    Many times whatever is making them ill is fatal, but there are also many survivors, too. i’m glad she’s OK; and perhaps she’ll have some residual immunity from whatever it was.

    L

    • Posted July 24, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Hm, I don’t want to play too much into this analogy, but the Inuit famously tease and ridicule those who don’t “pull their weight” if they look to be the sort of people who “should be able to” (i.e., are of the right age, sex, mental capacity, etc.). I wonder …

  11. Liz
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    The leaf is intentional. It’s a duckoration.

  12. Nicholas K.
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I find the growth rate simply astonishing. Makes me think about growth rates of dinosaurs, especially sauropods. I now understand when scientists say they got big quite fast.

    • busterggi
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Yep, just eight weeks after hatching the young apatosaurs flew off on their own.

    • Posted July 24, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Since ducks *are* dinosaurs, you’re experiencing it first hand (or at least vicariously first hand)!

      • Nicholas K.
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Quite right!


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