SweetPea gave nesting her full attention for 20 of the 28 days needed. The lure of the boys in the Dam Tribe brought her back (below l-r: Duke, Fred, Desi, MooseTracks). I found her untended egg on June 25th (bottom center) and hoped she was taking a quick break to bathe. She never went back. The next day, the egg had vanished.
When I reported she was nesting again, I didn’t reveal the exact location. She isn’t fond of paparrazi. Now that the nest is history, I’ll give you the full scoop. From a hundred feet away, I saw her enter the garden bed behind CW Interiors (right). Nesting surrounded by pink flowers seemed perfect for her! I walked up, ran my hand through the knee-high plants, but no SweetPea. Huh? That’s odd …
Then I looked in the 12″ wide space between the two buildings. There she was 6′ back (below left), a terrible location! Had a predator blocked the opening, she was a goner — the space was too narrow to fight and the back wall blocked an alternate escape route. That crevice also faces due south. With no circulating air, mid-day summer sun could fry her eggs.
Upon finding the nest, I called the store. Linda, the store owner, found a broken egg in the middle of the alley, some 20′ from the nest shortly after SweetPea began nesting. Later, she saw SweetPea with another egg in the alley. She was breaking it. A bank teller in town told me hens know when eggs are not viable. A growing embryo makes the egg warm to the touch, I suppose. Hens take them some distance away so predators aren’t attracted to the nest.
* SweetPea has great taste. CW Interiors is filled with beautiful home and office furnishings. Linda could have offered SweetPea help with her nest decor if she had asked. While the duck assembled a sophisticated color scheme of earth tones, she went a tad overboard with textures. A silk pillow or two would have enhanced her stab at a comfy country motif. Drapes would have softened the cinderblock walls.