Due to a video card biting the dust, I’ve been unable to make my usual daily posts. To catch up on the feathered action at the millpond, I’ll report on many of the ducklings in this one.
On August 19th, I reported two ducklings were rejected and venturing into the world alone. The gray chick vanished after three days, but the blonde one has miraculously survived. He’s teamed up with a duckling who is a week older than him (above) after many attempts to find a willing adult duck to provide some protection. The two go their merry way much of the time, but often pair up at night to stay warm as they rest. There’s hope for their future!
The hen who threw him out of her clutch of ten had only five left on August 24 (above), but only four remain now (below left). She’s one of the most stressed moms on the pond and keeps them away from most of the other ducks at night.
At the north end of the pond, the survival rate appears better. A brood of nine ducklings is growing quickly (above right). I think they are the ones I photographed on August 8th when there were 13 of them. Under the care of a wary hen, they will probably survive to adulthood. Ducklings are most vulnerable in their first two weeks and they are now past that stage.
After dark, Duck 65 usually shows up at my feet expecting a handout. He’s been at the millpond since July 25th and still gets picked on by other ducks. He’s good at dodging their lunges. There’s a serious tear in the webbing on his left foot (right), and he walks with a limp. Webbing injuries like this never heal but the pain will go away with time. The tear is probably from a scuffle with another duck, but I can’t be sure.