Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lame Duck

I've previously reported on the Ducks on the Pond. Now we have ducks at the feeders.

It seems that they like the food knocked to the ground by the other birds. Noticing this, we spread food on the ground for them, both here and at the back pond, where they continue to regularly visit.

But if you look closely you can see that something isn't quite right with the bird we've come to call "Mrs. Ducky Lucky".

There is clearly a problem with her left foot. She rarely if ever stands on it. And while Mr. Ducky Lucky will walk (waddle?) from the back pond to the feeders, Mrs. Ducky Lucky always makes the trip to and form the pond by air. Where she will rest on her belly, pecking at any food within reach.

And lately Mr. Ducky Lucky has a new lady friend. Or perhaps he is gathering a harem? Mrs. Ducky Lucky often visits by herself now. But on other days the two will be together. And then there is the occasional threesome. It is not clear what is going on. Mallards are generally monogamous, but like most birds extra-pair copulations do occur.

Mallards start nesting in April. These birds fly in once or twice a day, usually in the evening.  But they don't stay all day. So if they are nesting why are they leaving the nest? And as it is the female who incubates the eggs and tends to the young, does this mean that Mrs. Ducky Lucky is really Miss Ducky Lucky and has no nest to tend? Or is there a well hidden next out by the back pond and ducklings will be bobbing about on the water soon enough? Time will tell.

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