Ducks are a-dabbling …

We’re lucky. Our village has not just one, but three village ponds. It’s home to a variety of geese, to coots and moorhens … and to any number of mallards. Males seem to outnumber females. Most days in the spring and summer the laddish drakes – if they’re not lazing around on the grass – like so many teenage boys, mob the younger females in a rather aimless and half-hearted fashion.

We’re nearly at the time of year when ducklings will hatch and charm us all. The ponds are on both sides of the main-ish road that splices the village in two: the mother ducks march their broods back and forth, confident that traffic – yes even huge and heavy municipal dustbin lorries – will instantly grind to a halt to let the young family cross.

Nevertheless, few broods grow intact to adulthood. Jealous mallards despatch ducklings not their own. Geese kill them. Foxes take them to feed their own young. Herons visit. And despite the care most drivers take, there are traffic accidents. We often wonder what happened to the brood that Malcolm spotted one day on a lane near here: a mother duck leading fourteen – yes fourteen – ducklings along the road.

For Denzil’s Nature Photo Challenge #4 Ducks

… and also for another new challenge: Bird of the week

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

53 thoughts on “Ducks are a-dabbling …”

  1. Oh they do look delightful. Mother Nature is definitely harsh, but in the wider scheme of life ending up part of the food chain is more useful than being totally flattened into roadkill.

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  2. It is a dangerous world out there. Our Canadian geese are gathering and soon we will see the babies walking the Vancouver Seawall. I have learned that there is a very interest protocol among their community. The strongest Canadian geese take over the flocks of babies that belong to younger and weaker parents. They use their strength and size to intimidate the weaker geese and establish themselves as the leaders. This behavior is common in many bird species and helps ensure the survival of the flock by allowing the strongest and most capable individuals to take charge and make decisions for the group.


  3. I know Canada Geese won’t be happy till they’ve taken over the world. You can see it played out on every largish stretch of water …


  4. The pond in a village in walking distance from our home almost ceased to exist a few years ago – the water level kept dropping. So we got a campaign going to raise funds for a new clay base – which is how I ended up one day stamping clay up against the stone wall. Utterly exhausting. The ducks love it though and have returned in good numbers

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  5. I love stories and photos of ducks. I follow another blogger who often writes about the ducks at his university – there are so many dramas! One year one of the mothers stole all the ducklings from another mother…

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  6. The little ducklings are so adorable Margaret – lucky you for multiple ponds! I was once “attacked” by an angry mother duck as I was photographing her brood in a pond. She definitely meant business and I moved faster than you can say YIKES! Fortunately that met her requirements 😊

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  7. Thanks for taking part in my challenge Margaret, and for your informative post. Yes, mallard males apparently outnumber females globally, for some reason!

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  8. Mallards! Missed them here this winter. I guess they must have left already.

    Would you like to add this to the bird of the week post? Its a place where bird photographers, or those who like to see bird photos, can get together.

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  9. It’s impossible not to go “ahhh” when seeing cute fluffy ducklings. The most I have seen was on Lake Bled, but my favourite sighting was in Canberra watching a family cross the track around the lake, mother in the lead, dad at the back. How lovely to have three ponds, I once lived in a place with one pond, but the geese were a nuisance with all the mess on the grass.

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