Even after three years of observing the ducks at the Brighton millpond, they sometimes surprise me. Two days ago, I visited the north end before sunset, and as I tossed down pellets to them from the boardwalk, many flew toward me so I’d be nose-to-bill with them. Then they’d return to the ice below.
After this happened several times, I took a couple of steps back from the railing and an adventurous hen landed on the railing. It eagerly accepted food from my hand. Stepping back again, four ducks joined her. I think they are ducks I’ve known since they were ducklings.
Mallards aren’t known to perch like Wood Ducks but these looked like flock lifeguards for a few minutes as they watched the ducks swimming below. They remained wary being so near but relaxed as they ate. This close encounter with wild Mallards reflects their need to increase their food intake during winter and won’t be a regular event. Willaby has been the only duck that can be counted on to fly up to greet those of us who feed him. He’s doing well and so is Tux! Whatever caused his lethargy and drooping wings has passed.