This has been a busy week of hatchings although the broods have been smaller than usual. I found 2016 Brood 17 on the embankment near the Imagination Station after dark last night. At first, I thought it was Brood 14. There were only 5 ducklings found with the hen but Brood 14 had 7 on June 12 so the loss of two chicks within 4 days isn’t unusual.
Even though the mom resembles the hen in Brood 14, the ducklings are obviously first day birds. Can you imagine how quickly they have to learn to find their own food, flee danger, and follow the orders of their mom? It all begins on their first day of life when they leave the nest and never return to it.
These tykes are sticking close to their mother. It’s the most success method to survive the first few days of life when they can fit in the mouths of gulls, turtles, fish, hawks, owls, and even bullfrogs. By staying closely packed with mom, predators are more likely to view them being a larger animal than they are individually.