New to this forum, curious about ducks and a question

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by desertdarlene, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Please let me introduce myself and give some background:

    Hi! I am new to this forum and this site. I've actually come across a lot of posts here while doing research on ducks and ducklings.

    I don't have any ducks or other birds of my own, though I wish I could. I live in an apartment and I have allergies, too. However, I do frequent a couple of lakes where there are a lot of waterfowl there. I've been going to these lakes, off and on, for a long time. One lake I go to because I love killdeer and killdeer chicks and this was the closest place in my area to observe them. I have a blog that talks about certain individuals and their daily life.

    In May, June and July I fell in love with all the little mallard ducklings that were hatched at the larger of the two lakes. There were dozens and dozens of them. I started writing about them, too, trying to follow them throughout their "ducklinghood". But, I had a lot of questions and I still have a lot to learn, so I found a lot of posts here to help me out. Not to mention, a lot of fun posts, too.

    I didn't know if I should join this forum because I can't have any poultry in my apartment and didn't want to feel left out when I visited this site. But, I had some questions about ducks and I thought the people here could help me out. So, I hope you don't mind a duck-less person on this site. I feel like I'm foster mother to a lot of the babies at the lake, though. I think a good portion of them made it to at least five or six weeks old.

    The question I want to ask:

    One of my first questions is if anyone could tell me how old this mallard duck is? Almost all the males in this lake are in the Eclipse phase, but all of those have yellow bills. This one has a mostly green bill with some blue and orange showing through. The reason why I am asking this is that I am trying to find out if this is one of our recent ducklings (possibly the same duckling I use in my avatar) or an older duck that was recently freed from some crippling fishing wire. He does have a hurt foot, but he's in a different part of the lake than the adult duck usually is (but hasn't been seen lately).

    Most of the ducklings (all of them mallard) in this lake are between 8 and 16 weeks old with a few being about 4 to 5 weeks old.


    [​IMG]

    Today, when I saw him, he was doing way better than I saw him on Sunday when he couldn't walk at all. I think he's going to be OK. Ducks are regularly fed healthy food and watched over at this lake.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  2. PlumTuckered

    PlumTuckered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2007
    Arkansas
    That duckling looks more like a 16 week old to me than a 5 week old. Pretty little baby for sure. My mallard drake has a green bill, my mallard girls have orange bills. I could be wrong but I believe that either color bill can be found in both sexes.

    Welcome to BYC!!

    Michelle
     
  3. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]
     
  4. MysticalMom

    MysticalMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah. Plum Tuckered is right. It looks like he's one of the older ones. Definitely older than 5 weeks. Sure is pretty.

    And let me say, that whether or not you have you own ducks at home, it sounds like you really care about these ducks. And that makes you definitely welcome at BYC.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. treldib

    treldib Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern California
    1. Are his legs really that neon color or am I hallucinating? [​IMG] But seriously...none of my Mallard-Derivative ducks' legs are even close to being that colorful.

    2. [​IMG]


    Edited to fix spelling.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  6. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    Jan 11, 2010
    Australia
    Welcome to BYP...And you also now have me curious... Your blog- You mentioned it and its sounds lovely. Any chance you would be willing to share a link so those of us who are interested can have a read??


    Silly me...I just saw it in your signature after I posted... OK...so I am off for a read!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  7. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Thanks for the welcome.

    His legs really are that color, too! Bright orange. I thought it weird, also. A lot of the other ducks there have the same color, especially the younger ones.

    If he's an older duckling/young duck, then he might be one of the ones that hatched early in the season (there were at least 5 early ducklings). There is another drake that has the same injury, but I know he's at least six months old and I'm positive that his bill is mostly yellow. Someone at the lake will have to confirm if this is him or a different one. Whoever it is looks like he's going to be fine as long as he keeps his eye out for coyotes. Perhaps he'll heal up. The lower part of the damaged leg appears functional.

    How long do the bills of the juveniles stay green?

    Also, is it normal for ducklings to leave their parents at about 4-5 weeks old and join other adults/teens in a larger group? These wild mallards seem to do that. It's hard to tell who's who when they all mix in like that. Do male ducklings leave earlier than the females?

    My duck posts on Gather

    I not only blog about birds, I write posts for Gather.com. Here is a link to my profile where I have at least three duck-related posts in the spotlight area.

    My Gather Page
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  8. my1stchicks

    my1stchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2008
    North FL
    [​IMG] Love your blog!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  9. PlumTuckered

    PlumTuckered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2007
    Arkansas
    I just paid a visit to your blog, wonderful!!

    That duckling that looks to be part runner is almost identical to my Maggie ...she's a magpie runner cross, here's a recent photo of her:
    [​IMG]
    She's chocolate and white, has chocolate legs and her bill has just turned from chocolate to olive color.

    Michelle
     
  10. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Quote:Thanks for the compliments. Nice photo of the runners.

    I might post some photos from the other lake where they have a lot more domestic types of ducks. They have two full-blooded runners there. I think they sometimes take in ex-pet ducks at the other lake as I don't think there's any way a runner could "fly" into there like the mallards can.

    I'm not sure if that runner on the blog is the same one I've been seeing lately at that location. There's another black and white one there that was "dumped off" at the lake and is being cared for by one of the people who feed the ducks healthy duck food every day. The man who feeds him just loves this duck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010

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