June 10: As her ducklings frolicked in the shallow water near city hall, their mom watched from atop a mound at the water’s edge as the sun began to set. This is Brood 8 of the 2012 Season.
I’m weary from writing about tragedies at the pond so I thought I’d show you how a hen helps her ducklings learn to find food. I wouldn’t calling it “teaching” as much as I’d call it “leading.” Ducklings are nidifugous (they leave the nest shortly after birth) and precocious which means almost the same thing, that they can fend for themselves shortly after hatching.
Here, you see mom take 4-day-old chicks (2012brood8) to where they can find nutritous food that’s small enough for them to eat. Tiny plants and bugs collect along the shore of the Brighton millpond providing them with a smorgasbord of choices. Click the top picture to see mom just far enough away to let the ducklings explore on their own. Below, mom is right there poking around with the kids (left). On the right, it looks like junior is asking if it’s alright to go in the water. Click to see it larger.
The day-old duckling I posted on mom’s back yesterday is one of four in Brood 8 of the 2012 season. Three of the four ducklings are marked as typical mallards, but one is a showstopper (above). I was thrilled the moment I found him because I thought he would be easy to spot in the future since he’s a one-of-a-kind and beautiful. I decided I’d call him Butterscotch.
All four of the brood looked healthy, alert, and scooted around with their mother searching for tidbits on the pond embankment (left). Unlike most of the other hens, this mom brought her first day babies to the most public part of the millpond near Main Street. She seemed unconcerned with humans and knew how to protect them. Sadly, I photographed Butterscotch on the only day of its life. By the next night, he had vanished either by predation or the cold night. Only three ducklings remain (bottom).
I can’t help it. New ducklings keep being born at the Brighton millpond, and they’re so damned cute I spend a lot of time photographing them. This little guy is only a day old and was introduced to the world near the gazebo on Friday night with his three siblings. I’ll post more of the new family within the next 24 hours. This is Brood 8 of the season.
|Hen||Typical mallard with a dark bill, nothing distinctive. Friendly|
|Drake(s)||Unknown, not present|
|DOB (estimate)||June 1|
|Pond Location||On pond embankment in front of the gazebo|
|1st Meeting||As stated above|
|Duckling Count||4 verified, June 1|
June 1: Found after dark on the embankment with four ducklings. It was a cold evening and all were under her wings until one of them climbed up on her back. She was very hungry and glad to get some duck chow, purred like a kitten over it. Kids too young to eat it.
Posts including this brood:
06/02/12 :: Mom: The perfect feather bed