Wild baby ducks!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by desertdarlene, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I decided to make one thread to put all my duckling photos from the lakes in my area. Today, I saw a mom with almost a dozen ducklings. All of them looked to be rouen-mallard mix, perhaps one might be a gadwall hybrid. The mom is constantly being accosted by several drakes. I had to "babysit" her ducklings this morning as they were all out by themselves, just chugging along without a care in the world:

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    Then, mom finally got a little rest from the drakes and attended them. Unfortunately, the drakes were being aggressive to her and almost running over the ducklings while they were at it:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, they were in the herons' hunting and fishing area. [​IMG] If they don't move, they all won't make it. Today, there were a lot of people around those areas, so they were safe.
     
  2. MissusDee

    MissusDee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love the pictures. That last one just makes me melt. Great pictures!
     
  3. ducks_rcool329

    ducks_rcool329 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could always.,..... " borrow" them... [​IMG] from the hunting area... and raise them... Shhhhh no one would tell..... [​IMG]
     
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL, thanks for looking! I don't think I could catch them, they were already cautious of me and would swim out further if I approached.

    I couldn't get all 11 of them in one shot, the last one had 10. I hope some of them make it because there's such a variety there of rouen, rouen mixes, a little gadwall and mallard. I wish I could see them all grow up and see what they look like. But, that would probably be impossible.

    I think that female had two ducklings last year that I watched for a week and then they and their mom disappeared. I saw the mom again after breeding season was over. I don't know if she successfully raised those two from last year or not.

    I had a question: How come wild ducklings can swim and run around in cool temps for hours and not get tired while the domestic ones do? I know the mom oils them and that helps keeps them from being waterlogged, but how do they stay awake and active for so long?
     
  5. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The one that had 11 ducklings to start is down to three, but they're now over a week old and too big for many predators such as seagulls, crows, and I think they're almost too big for the bass at the lake. In about another week/10 days, they should be too big for the herons. I haven't seen the other female lately, she might have some of the others.

    These two are my favorites so far this year:

    [​IMG]

    This little one was lethargic compared to the other two. I think he was just tired and cold.

    [​IMG]

    They all ran to me when they saw me, it was so cute. They've tripled in size since they hatched.

    There was a bunch of confetti and Easter candy all over the place. The big drakes got most of it, though I did see some confetti in a duckling's mouth. I think he spit it out. Someone also fed them bread. I hope they didn't choke on anything. I didn't see them later.

    Here's also a family of 9, used to be 10 a couple of days ago. A Canada gander tried to kill them a couple of days ago, but we stopped him from doing so. This mom raised 5 out of 6 last year, including the flycatching duckling I got a photo of. These are 3 or 4 days old now:

    [​IMG]

    One of the blue herons was actually looking for them this morning. There's another family of 3 ducklings that I didn't see. Luckily, the mom of this brood wasn't where the heron thought she was and went away empty billed.
     
  6. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

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    Great photos Darlene. I feel your pain with the blue herons. Hopefully some WILL make it.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    do the Herons just kill them or do they eat them too.?
     
  8. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Destinduck. This is the very first time, ever, that herons have nested at this lake. I don't think many of the resident females have had any experience dealing with them, so I'm worried.


    Quote:The herons eat them, usually while they're still alive and all in one swallow. But, they should be safe from them by the time they're about two to three weeks old.
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I did not know that, very interesting. poor ducklings [​IMG]
     
  10. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's very disturbing to watch because most of the time, the mom will try to rescue her baby, but it's swallowed in a matter of seconds before she has time to react. I got nervous because I thought I saw the big family heading right towards the heron nesting area. But, I don't think they made it there, but went back into hiding.

    The other female hanging around the first, older, brood is one of only about three or four females who have experience dealing with herons that I know of. That could be why I can't find her, she knows how to hide from them and is hiding with her stolen ducklings somewhere.

    ETA: One thing I've noticed about very young wild ducklings is that they're practically fearless and seem to be oblivious as to what is dangerous. So, they don't live in fear, at least when they're very young, and just go about enjoying their little duckling lives eating and playing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

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