Friday: Duck report

What behooves a well-fed adolescent duck to migrate away from a food-filled pond tended by two nice Feeders mystifies me, but they’re leaving indeed. It’s the pull of Nature and their genes.

We’re down to two ducklings and Honey now: six have flown the coop, strong and healthy, and the fowl that remain include the molting mother, who is flightless for the nonce, a honking big duckling ready to go (it flew today), and little Phoebe, who has been bullied but seems in pretty good shape.  I hope that within a few days we’ll be down to just Honey, sad as I am to see the babies leave.

Summer is on the wane, the ducklings are heading to God knows where (that’s a metaphor), and Honey is slowly growing in her feathers. She’ll probably leave within the month. So the cycle of duck life continues. But I look forward to experiencing another cycle next year—hopefully with my best feathered girl, who as of this afternoon has fledged ten babies while I was helping.

Honey

 

Pictures tomorrow.

 

15 Comments

  1. yazikus
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Lovely.

  2. Liz
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I have learned a lot about mallards from this. Thank you.

  3. Bob Murray
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Can a Geneticist beat Genetics?

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    The same has happened here. Where did these Mallards go?

  5. eric
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    What behooves a well-fed adolescent duck to migrate away from a food-filled pond tended by two nice Feeders mystifies me…

    Adults make up stupid rules, embarrass teens for no reason, and don’t know what it’s like to be young. The teens will clearly do better on their own without all those stupid adult ideas, and they know it. 🙂

    It’s scary to think that, given the evolutionary distance between us and mallards, warm blooded adolescent vertebrates have had this instinct going back at least to the dinosaurs.

  6. Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Were you ever able to sex any of them? Any sign of greening heads?

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, if they quack they are females. There were at least three females in the brood, as I heard three of them quack when they were together once, but I can’t tell the ducklings apart.

  7. alexandra Moffat
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    We all may not believe in or trust in but you may have made Honey a believer, with your largesse.

  8. Posted August 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, then “If it quacks it’s a duck” is accurate. Otherwise it’s a drake (male duck)!

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Damn, Jerry, those are three paragraphs of poignant prose, near to Thomas Wolfian, I’d say (the Wolfe of the golden days and the bronzed, mown fields of Of Time and the River and Look Homeward, Angel, of course, not his recently deceased namesake).

  10. Posted August 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    My guess is that Phoebe will hang around a while longer and fatten up. Ducks are smart.

    It’s been a wonderful journey with them, so thanks for sharing the Great Big Duck Adventure, Jerry!

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      +1

  11. Posted August 4, 2018 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Jerry, you are working against evolution by natural selection, by giving all of Honey’s offspring a big help in these critical years. Did you ever think about that? 😉

  12. Melanie
    Posted August 4, 2018 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful and educational adventure. Thank you!!

  13. Diane G
    Posted August 4, 2018 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    “Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze…”

    How swift passeth the summer. Why do clocks (and calendars) speed up with every year? In something less that three decades I’ll have died, but Honey’s lineage will–hopefully–still return to Botany Pond. For some crazy reason I find that far more comforting than any religion could possibly be…


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