Sitting Duck

Having been hugely in awe of the Blue Tit mum and her devotion to her eggs and chicks recently, I have been astounded to see the reverse with two mallard ducks. A male and female started coming and sitting in the middle of my drive, the female occasionally looking enquiringly at the window whilst the male quacked under his breath.

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As time went on I realised that the female was waddling with more gusto and ruffling her tail feathers more regularly forming a fan.

Quite magical to watch.

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Then suddenly they stopped coming…

On closer inspection of the front border they had left a legacy for me…eight eggs, placed neatly in a group under a Cotoneaster but still in fullish view.

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What to do?

They have not been kept warm now for at least 4 days and I am surprised the fox and squirrel have left them alone!

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If only I had an incubator, but maybe not…eight chicks may be a few too many to care for!


17 Responses

  1. VegVamp says:

    Goodness Hayley, I wonder what happened to make them abandon them. :confused: Very sad :disappointed:

  2. cilla says:

    Well someone has to say it H……….” completely quackers :lol:

  3. Beanstew says:

    I think after four days the eggs might be seriously compromised, Hayley. But very strange. I don’t know if ducks will just lay regardless of whether they have mated or not, but possibly the eggs were infertile, and the female knew this?.

  4. Hayley says:

    STOP PRESS! I did see them back early this morning so maybe they come at night to sit on the nest. The problem is the siting of the eggs, right next to the back door with people coming and going and of course, Philip needs to go out too! The fox is actively around at night as well so he may raid the nest. I could try moving the eggs to a ‘safer’ place but will she find them?

  5. Hayley says:

    I think you are probably right Sheila. I remember a few years ago the mallard nested behind one of my pots, all of the eggs were taken by ‘something’. I’ve just been reading about their nesting habits on the RSPB website, here’s what they say:
    ‘Mallards exploit any open water where food is plentiful, however, and this sometimes results in the choice of less than perfect nest sites, particularly in towns. Nests have been found in boathouses, wood piles, old crows nests, hay stacks, roof gardens, enclosed courtyards and even in large flowerpots on balconies several floors up! ‘

    Seems like I’m not alone! :silly:

  6. cilla says:

    I would advise not to interfere Hayley. Ducks lay their eggs in ridiculous places. If a nest is anywhere on the ground it is at risk of predation. They could be a juvenile couple or, and more likely, they have heard what a fabulous bed and breakfast place it is and want to be as close as possible. :lol:

  7. cilla says:

    At Bradgate Park I saw a duck nesting in a hole up a tree!

  8. Goodness, Hayley, your place is a haven for feathered friends of all types :good: It would be lovely to have ducklings but nature will decide :rose:

  9. Wow Hayley, you have your own mini wildlife park, with lovely walks around your garden and you could sell homemade produce, you could be onto a nice little earner :good: On a more serious note, I hope the eggs stay safe and you get to see little chicks soon as they are so cute, we saw a swan with 7 babies all swimming behind her in a straight line on some water near us. It does bring a smile to one’s face. :rose:

    • Hayley says:

      I couldn’t agree more Lynn :love: Whilst loving the mallard as I do, I’m also astonished to see how the female often leads her chicks through paths of danger on open ground. The desire to ‘get to water’ is so great clearly :fingers-crossed:

  10. Hayley says:

    I think you’re right Cilla, leave well alone and yes Jane, I would love ducklings :love: Nature will decide and she’s usually pretty good at getting it right ;-)

  11. Hayley says:

    Sadly, an update :-( When I was at Hampton Court on Wednesday, something, probably a squirrel, pulled out and cracked all of the eggs on to the path by the house. So, no ducklings this year I’m afraid :-(

  12. Just catching up, Hayley – very sad for you :-(

  13. Allan says:

    You’ll have to build a false island in the centre of your big wildlife pond Hayl, They would willingly take too it, :good:

  14. mick1970 says:

    I agree with allan build one ….we used a wooden pallet for the pond and replace it every year few breeze blocks on rope to keep it in place….i had duck eggs the other day very nice as well

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