Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Duck Update

This a post both happy and sad - updating the story of Ethel and Lucy, two female mallards who birthed ducklings in the courtyard at work.
We relocated Ethel with nine of her eleven ducklings to the pond on the same property as the courtyard where she and Lucy lived. She was spotted by our Director of Plant Operations crossing the driveway that very afternoon, followed by her brood, to the creek that runs behind the property. We haven't seen her since, so I happily assume that she made a home in the creek. Canada geese also inhabited the pond where we relocated her, so the duck family may have been unwelcome from the start (kind of a Crips and Bloods situation - fighting over the same turf!).

Ethel and brood swimming in their new home

Lucy, left in the courtyard with her original eight ducklings, quickly adopted the two of Ethel's ducklings that we couldn't find in time to relocate with Ethel. For two days, the brood of ten followed Mom around without incident. The Maintenance Department here (wonderful guys, all of them), built a little pavilion to protect the food bowls from the elements and Lucy and her youngsters were living the high life.

Food bowls under the handmade "Duck Pavilion"

The last few days, however, have only seen six of the ten ducklings with Mom. After searching high and low, we can not find four of the babies. Was it a hawk, illness, starvation or weather that caused the death/ disappearance of these ducks? We will never know.

Lucy and the six surviving ducklings

But life goes on - and the six ducklings left are enjoying swimming, eating, preening, chasing each other and other duck-like pursuits. I sit with them in the morning for 10-15 minutes. They are skittish at first but after I am still for a while, they ignore me and go about their business. It is an honor to share my mornings with them - I enjoy their antics. More updates to follow.

"What 'choo lookin' at????"


Susan Gets Native said...

That's why ducks make so many babies, Beth dear. They don't all make it. But you and the staff did a good thing by relocating the other family.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Thanks for the update on Lucy and Ethel. Sorry about the little ones gone missing. Susan's right though, I think some not making it is part of the plan.

word verif: preeph

Beth said...

Yes, nature is often cruel, but we are happy that we saved six. If you look closely at the last picture, you will see that one duckling is smaller than the other five. We think that is one of Ethel's adoptees (her brood was born later than Lucy's).


Anonymous said...

Hawks have brought havoc to the chickens here on the farm....guess thats why the other farmers always have 3-4 times more chicken than they really need.

Hawks have to eat too....LOL


dguzman said...

Our ducks were relocated too, and I really miss them. I'll just have to get my vicarious "awwwwww"s by checking out your ducks!

Bird Girl said...

A homemade duck pavilion - I though I'd heard of everything ;-) Great story and pictures, Beth!