Blonde vs. light ducks

April 4th, 2016         1 comment

One of the Brighton millpond Blonde ducksCurrently, there are three Blonde Ducks at the Brighton millpond: Blonde Bombshells #1, #3, and #4. Bombshell #2 was rescued last summer when tangled monofilament fishing line cut off circulation to her right leg and foot. She resides at the Michigan Duck Rescue & Sanctuary and is doing well with only one leg.

The history of the blondes is unknown. They may be hybrids between the white Pekins and Mallards, but they could be abandoned Saxony ducks. They have the coloration of the domestic Saxony breed.

Two of the three light colored hens at the Brighton millpondThe back story of the three light colored ducks is also unknown. While the Blonde hens are peachy in color with a relatively smooth finish (above), the light-colored hens all have more detailed patterning. Maybelline (shown at left and below) is a millpond veteran and very successful mother in past three years, maybe longer. I expect she will have at least one brood this summer. In past years, she has brought her ducklings to the adoring park visitors near Main Street so they can feed them. It saves her from searching near and far to fill their bellies with more nutritious, natural foods. You can recognize her because of her strong dark eye stripes and white eyebrows. It looks like she’s wearing mascara hence the name.

Maybelline will surely nest again this year after a very success year in 2015

The light colored duck that arrived in December, 2015The light-colored hen that arrived last December (right and upper duck in top image) is still unnamed but easy to spot. She has brightly contrasting markings (called “penciling”)  and may be a mix of Mallard and Welsh Harlequin, a domestic breed. I suspect she is a dumped pet but may be an escapee from someone’s resident flock. She currently has a Mallard drake companion and is suspected to nest this summer.

Sorbet has a drake already picked out and will surely nest this summerSorbet (left) is approaching her second summer as an adult duck after hatching in May, 2014. She didn’t nest last summer but currently has a Mallard drake following her wherever she goes. Expect to see her with ducklings this spring/summer. She has a slight white necklace that’s wider on the back of her neck along with white patches on both of her flanks.

Sorbet is the daughter of Parfait (below right) who is seeking the affection of a Mallard hen who is also being pursued by a Mallard drake. When her ducklings hatch, we’ll be able to tell his prodigies by their unique markings. Ducklings can have different fathers in the same brood. Even though he’s been an adult duck for two full summers and behaved recklessly with the hearts of many hens, no ducklings other than Sorbet has markings similar to his.  The late, great MooseTracks was his father, a local celebriduck until vanishing in March, 2014. Three domestic ducks disappeared that month. A marauding coyote seen during that period is the suspected consumer.

Parfait shares the affection of a Mallard hen with a Mallard drake

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§ One Response to Blonde vs. light ducks

  • We have a blonde mallard this year at our city-stocked pond on the edges of the conurbation of Columbus, Ohio. She was first noticed, as far as I am aware, earlier this year by my birding eight-year-old neighbor Annabelle! Our blonde hen has the smooth, light, slightly peachy color that you describe.

    Her mother and she gave some fancy Latin (I believe) name to these blonde mallards. Would you happen to know it?

    I am not a photographer, therefore I hope that you will not mind if I use your photo from the top of this post, in a post today on my blog, Let Us Live Like We Mean It, on I will attribute the photo to you and your blog.

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  • Douglas Peterson
    Brighton, Michigan

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    You'll find information about the resident ducks, birds, and critters residing at the Brighton millpond. I slip in my art and poetry, but my photography of wildlife and plants is the primary focus.

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