Saturday duck report

Honey hasn’t shown up at the pond for 2.5 days, but I suspect she’s off incubating her eggs. Meanwhile, her mate Gregory Peck (aka Mallard Fillmore aka Dr. Quackenstein) spends most of his day swimming around and around the pond, often quacking. He rarely rests, and will eat only a bit when I feed him. For a while I suspected he was neurotic or even mentally ill, but I think this compulsive behavior is just his expending nervous energy while waiting for Honey’s return.

Finally, this morning I saw him resting: sleeping on the “duck ring” with one eye closed:

The whiteness in the eye is his nictitating membrane, which is how he closes his eye while sleeping:

As the weather has been warmer, the turtles have been out in force, trying to get into the sun to warm themselves. This poor guy failed to achieve purchase on Duck Island #1:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 13, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    … Gregory Peck (aka Mallard Fillmore aka Dr. Quackenstein) …

    “Quackenstein” — Is that an alias (like “Phil Greenberg”) for Gregory Peck to use if he goes undercover to investigate whether there’s an anti-Semitic gentleman’s agreement at Botany Pond? 🙂

  2. Posted April 13, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Are those actually duck rings, or something else the ducks appropriate for their own needs?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 13, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I did wonder myself why some of the concrete rings are smaller diametered with rims 4″ or 6″ lower than the tree-planted ones.

  3. John Harshman
    Posted April 13, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The most common female call is referred to as the “decrescendo call”, quack-quack-quack-quack-quack in decreasing volume. The most common male call is transliterated as “rhaeb rhaeb rhaeb”. I recommend the Stokes Guide to Bird Behavior, which covers many aspects of observable behavior for various species, including mallards. There are second and third volumes too, with more species. It greatly improves your duckwatching.

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 13, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s tough being a handsome, colourful, young, virile drake with a ticket to an empty dancehall.

  5. Posted April 13, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I wonder who the other female was and where she went.

  6. Darren Garrison
    Posted April 13, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    How about a duck droid?

  7. ladyatheist
    Posted April 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    What happened to the ramp? I know you got them to put it there for the ducklings’ sake, but the turtles need it too!

    • Posted April 13, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      The ramp is still there, but it leads up to the edge of the pond, not to the duck island. The turtles are using it frequently, and they can also walk onto the shore at the north end.

  8. Posted April 13, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Those roots around the trees look for all the world like a flock of mutant ducks.

  9. Raskos
    Posted April 13, 2019 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I think that what we saw was a pause for contemplation and consideration on the part of the turtle, followed by a decision to remain an aquatic creature for the time being.
    Not a fail. Turtles are generally a bit more spectacular about these.

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