Saturday, July 11, 2009

MALLARDS IN RETIREMENT


In the last few weeks, the mallards that regularly came to eat the spilled birdseed beneath the feeder in the red maple have been noticeably absent. Over the spring and early summer I got in the habit of filling the feeder and tossing a couple of fistfuls of seed at the base of the tree for the ducks. The duties of guarding and raising eleven babies only allowed the male to come for a quick dry-land dabble, and the female only came once by herself, leaving me to surmise that the male was being Mr. Mom somewhere in the nearby canal. By now the youngsters must be totally independent, and if they still hang with the old folks, they don’t remember that one day the hen brought them all to my backyard. Perhaps that’s for the best. I don’t know if I want to attract that many ducks to the feeder. The smaller birds get really ticked, and there’s a lot of jostling and nipping then the big ducks show up! The redwings and bluejays and others are happy to have the feeder to themselves once again.


A few days ago the adult ducks did stop by. The male was looking rather tatty in full eclipse plumage—at first glance I almost thought it was two females—but obviously not molting, and still able to fly. There wasn’t much seed on the ground; the feeder was due for a fill-up (the adults are bringing the juveniles around to show them where they can get some fast food) but I hadn’t expected to see the mallards back. Now that the kids are grown, they’re free to just take off and travel to the marsh, or the Pelee marina, or some of the other wetlands nearby, before heading south in the fall. I’ll keep an eye out for them, but I think they may this visit could be their swan song (so to speak) until next year.

9 comments:

Dianne said...

empty nest syndrome! yes, I know that is an awful pun ;)

I love how you watch over the critters around you

magiceye said...

that is such an interesting post...

Naturegirl said...

Hi Deborah! Loved reading about the family.. empty nest syndrome for sure!I'm sure it was entertaining for you to watch feeding times!
Thanks a whole lot for your regular words of encouragement and support..it's hard for me to sit too long so I'm not as regular in my visits.
hugs aNNa xo

Lin said...

that's a funny thought duck fast food. I'm sure you are appreciated.

SandyCarlson said...

Ah, so the dude was dressed down for a Saturday!

That's nice they moved on. That take what you need approach is very good.

Sylvia K said...

Fun "ducky" post, as always! Like Dianne, I love how you watch over all the critters around your place!
Love the photos! And you "fast food" place is priceless!

Rose said...

At least they cameto say good-bye,

Cloudia said...

Why do we love ducks and geese so much? Perhaps we long to migrate.
Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

Sue said...

Your post made me realize that I hadn't seen any ducks on campus for a week or two. Same principle.