The Ducklings Are Coming

Duck TalesFor the last few weeks, we’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our ducklings. You see, ever since we moved onto our acreage and built a big pond at the back of the property, we’ve had a pair of mallard ducks stop to nest. We’ve even had a few broods hatch and within weeks, the mama duck is parading them through the yard or teaching them to swim. The photo to the left is of the female duck as she walked past the basement window.

Sometimes, though, the local predators get the eggs before they hatch. If that happens, the ducks search for a new nesting spot.

This year, while my DH was using the grass trimmer along the edge of the front yard, the mama duck came flapping out of a spreading juniper we have in the front flower bed. Later, when he used the small tractor to mow in that area, she came flapping out of the juniper again.

That’s when we realized our mama duck was nesting in the front yard next to the driveway.

IMG_0399She’s been sitting on her eggs for at least two weeks and the incubation period is roughly 28 days. So we’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new brood. She’s even gotten used to the roar of the trimmer and tractor as my DH takes care of his grass duties.

Sometimes while I’m working in the flowerbed, I’ll peek between the branches of the juniper and see her sitting there, keeping her eggs warm. She flies out only to feed and go for a quick swim in the pond, and then she heads back to her nest to sit some more.

While I finish up the last of the edits on my upcoming book, Always Remember, our family is eagerly anticipating the arrival of our new guests. They’re camera shy, but I’m hoping this year I’m quick enough to get some pictures.

Here’s a few facts about mallard ducks:

1) They mate for life.

2) If predators destroy their nest and eggs, the ducks will lay another batch of eggs anywhere between two to four additional times that year. In other words, they don’t give up!

3) If a mama duck is attacked while in her nest, she will fly away, and only when the danger has passed will she return.

4) While the mama ducks are sitting dutifully on their nest of eggs, the papa ducks are off galavanting with their buddies. I’ve read that they stay near the female duck and nest, in order to protect them, but this year, I haven’t seen the male duck anywhere near the main yard.

Do you have any ducks or other wild animals making their home in your area or any duck/wild animal tales to tell?

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About Sheila Seabrook

Author of Single Title Romantic Comedy and Women's Fiction

Posted on June 5, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Sheila, I love wild life … even the two-legged variety. In Manhattan I lived near a natural reserve with gray owls and swans, tons of birds, especially mallards nested in our pond on their way to and from somewhere. We had the predators, the crows and racoons and such who attacked nests.

    In Florida there is a hybrid duck that people make fun of because it is a cross between a turkey vulture and a mallard. A strange hybrid, they are hearty and nest in most of our ponds and lakes. They are very persistent and no matter how many times the little ducklings are lost, they continue to have more. I love living near water and here you can also enjoy the heron … the Great Whites are majestic and some stand four feet tall. We have a bird book to keep up with them all. It’s fun … especially for a city kid to see so much of nature in her backyard 🙂

    • Florence, that hybrid duck would be so cool to see. There’s just something peaceful about watching the wildlife around us, isn’t there? Unless they’re trying to eat us, that is. LOL!

  2. That’s so much fun, Sheila! We have swans here on our pond. Last year was the first year I can remember any of the cygnets surviving their first few weeks before the coyotes got them. (Believe it or not, I live in the suburbs!) We now have four adult swans living on our pond. I’ve noticed that mom (Lucy) has been absent lately. Hopefully, she’s sitting on another nest full of baby cygnets!

    • Oh, those darn coyotes. We have them here too and they’ve eaten the last two batches of ducklings. GRRRR! The swans must be gorgeous to watch, Tracy. They’re so graceful.

  3. Christy Hayes

    With two dogs on the prowl at my house, our back yard is their domain and most animals steer clear (except for the squirrels that give them fits). We have bunnies and birds galore in the front yard where the dogs can only stare out the window. Occasionally we will see deer from our local greenway. Love your duck adventure!

    • The bunnies are so much fun to watch, Christy, especially while they’re still young and playful. I’d love to see deer here and apparently they come around frequently, but in the 20 years we’ve been living here, I’ve never seen one.

  4. Janna Qualman

    Love this look into your little ducky family! I hope to hear an update once the eggs have hatched. Kudos to the mama, and I sure hope the papa makes an appearance.

  5. I love ducks, Sheila, and this story is so cute and informative as well. There are a lot of ducks in our area because of all the lagoons in Alameda. They’re walking around parking lots in front of Lucky’s grocery store. They’re on streets, waddling in front of traffic. It’s scary because they’re sort of domesticated but not really.

    • Wow, Patsy, it’s amazing that you have so many wandering all over the place. We never see any on the streets in town here. They hang around the ponds and streams. Although we’ve seen ours cross the street to visit the neighbor’s yard. 🙂

  6. Cool duck facts. I love ducklings. I have been known to stop the car so I can observe the little creatures. But then again, I’ll do that for just about any baby animal.

    Let us know when the hatchlings arrive because now I’m excited too!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • I agree with you, Patricia. Baby animals, no matter what kind they are (well, except for snakes and lizards) so very cute, all I want to do is hold them and cuddle them and play with them. 🙂 When I have news, I’ll definitely share.

  7. Vicki Batman

    Handsome found a turtle. He makes guest appearances then disappears. I’ve left carrots and they disappear too. That could be the squirrels though. Maybe he’ll stick around. I did have a mama and baby ducks in the pool on a floatie They made it to the steps and marched off. Cute!

    • A turtle wandering around the yard would be so much fun, Vicki. 🙂 And I imagine your mama duck was giving swimming lessons to her babies in your pool. So cute!

  8. Okay Sheila, this is the second time that I’ve visited today. The first time I was on my phone and somehow my comment was eaten by the Big Blogoverse in the sky. Poof! Gone. Yet, I wanted to tell you how glad I was that you and hubby found the nest. Mama duck must have panicked when she heard that big, bad, lawn mower. Can’t wait to see her baby duckies and your new book of course! Take care! 🙂

    • LOL, Karen. I’ve had that happen too. Thanks for taking the time to try a 2nd time. 🙂 The lawnmower did scare our mama duck, but she’s adjusted to it now, yay!

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