Thursday: Duck report

This counts as “Readers’ Wildlife” for today. I’m not up to date with the duck reports, though I’m not sure how many people remain interested. But since they’re my only offspring, and I love them, I will persist. And it’s also interesting to observe the growth process from hatching to fledging.

In short: all the ducks are fine. The oldest brood, Katie’s, dwindled to one offspring the other day, staying with its mother as Katie goes through her monthlong molt (she can’t fly during this time). But another offspring comes and goes, so yesterday she had two of them. As the alpha ducks, Katie and her brood are always bullies, trying to drive away others at feeding time. I’m glad that most of them have fledged!

Anna’s brood of eight is still there, and quite large. They’re hard to distinguish from Katie’s brood except they haven’t yet developed full flight feathers, so their wings don’t cross at the rear. Otherwise, they’re in good nick and eating well.

And of course we have Daphe’s brood, which remains at nine. They’ve lost their duckling down and are at the very awkward teenage stage. But they’re quite rambunctious and roam all over the pond and adjacent grounds. They’re really cute, and Daphne is a great mom, as you see below. She’s always standing guard over her young.

Everyone in this photo is napping:

Sometime she stands guard on one leg. You can see that she’s pleasingly plump: everyone is well fed, and all get three meals a day. (They do know how to forage on their own, too.)

More of Daphne on guard:

She’s always watching when her brood is in the pond, and she lets them eat first—something I’ve seen with all the hen mothers:

A formal portrait of Daphne on one foot:

A formal headshot of Daphne. The bill markings clearly show that she isn’t Honey. Nor, I think, are the other two mothers.

A video of Daphne’s brood foraging on the grass and along the sidewalk adjacent to Botany Pond. The duck parade begins 11 seconds in. Note the partial feathering and the tiny wings of one duck as it stretches:

More foraging by the pond. The young are at their ugly teenage stage (though of course I don’t think they’re ugly): half feathered, with little feathers growing backwards from their neck (and on their wings) as well as forward from their tail.

Katie’s brood, with mom in center rear:

Katie, left, has lost her primary flight feathers during the molt and is regrowing them. Her offspring to the right has big flight feathers and can fly. (Katie, of course, is grounded for a while).

Anna’s brood hiding out from the heat the other day:

I think that hot ducks extend their legs to cool off. Note that the wing feathers of Anna’s brood are growing in.

Katie’s small brood resting on the duck island in the heat. This was when there were three of them about a week ago.

As you’ve learned, ducks keep themselves waterproofed by applying oil to their feathers, and the oil is secreted from a gland at the base of their tail. Here’s one of Anna’s ducks loading up its bill with oil, but it hasn’t learned to keep stationary during the process, and so it goes in circles.


  1. Dominic
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    We feel like uncles & aunts to your grand-ducks!

  2. Posted July 25, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    PS I found greater secondary coverts of a duck recently -they may have been therefore from a duck as much as a drake I suppose.

    Oh – & first comment disappeared again…

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Speaking of sleep ducks, have you seen this one:

  4. eliz20108
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Ilove to watch the ducks. Keep those pictures coming.

  5. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Love following the progress of the three duck families. Please continue to keep us updated!

    • Richard Bond
      Posted July 25, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Agreed. I have been wondering about their progress.

  6. Dragon
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    They are all so cute.

  7. Terry Sheldon
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Glad the ducks are still all doing well. Keep the reports coming, please!

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted July 25, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Me too. 🦆

  8. Allen Linville
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I like the duck reports, please keep them coming.

  9. BobTerrace
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Of course we are still interested. Keep the photos coming.

  10. mfdempsey1946
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I am glad to be learning a lot from these posts about ducks, in whose real-life presence I have been just a few times, at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, where they were a fixture, freely interacting with the often large crowds of human visitors.

  11. Posted July 28, 2019 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    I always look forward to your duck reports, as well as your other wildlife reports. Please do NOT stop! 🙂

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