May 23: As temperatures plunged, the count of ignored ducklings increased to four with the addition of another newborn, the same size and probably from the same brood as the one that joined the older chicks the day before.
One of them got caught in a cement crack for a moment (above) but wiggled his way out in short order. You can see by these pictures how quickly ducks grow. The older ones are twice as big in just seven days. I still haven’t found the brood providing these ducklings so they aren’t included in the Fertility Tournament count. The hen wasn’t seen with the ducklings from this day on.
Temperatures plunged to just above freezing here. Hypothermia is a major killer of ducklings during their first weeks of life. While I think it’s almost always best to let Nature carry on without human interference, if I had the proper equipment to catch these little guys, I would have taken them home until nighttime temperatures returned to normal. (It would be an act of civil disobedience. It’s against Federal and state laws to raise wildlife without a license.)
May 24: This tale doesn’t end well. The next night, only the two older ducklings were found. It’s possible the younger birds found refuge with their mother or a generous hen, but it’s likely they died from freezing temperatures. I might find the brood from which they wandered but their fate will remain a mystery.