Dwindling duckies

About 3 weeks ago, two nests of muscovy duck eggs hatched. I forget the exact numbers, but each had around 20 ducklings.

An interesting thing happened.

The 2 “families” merged into one large group. I’m not exactly sure why or how it happened, but one day we’d see one mother with more and the other mother with less. Then later on we’d see that same mother with a lot less and the other mother with a lot more. I reckon since they all travelled in similar circles, they all just merged and blended… ducklings would see others similar to it moving on and would join the flow, others were looking the other direction and would stay with the others still eating. Just not sure what sort of “duck think” was going on here.

But more interesting was the two mother ducks seemed to be OK with it… as if they were agreeing to share the load. Every other time I’ve seen some mother duck and not-its-ducklings interact, they keep away: the foreign mother will chase away the strange babies, everyone keeps to their group. But here, they seemed to be all accepting. It got to a point where what you would see was a large group of 2 mothers and a whole mess of babies, rarely just one mother and babies.

Interesting. Just never seen such behavior before.

But what’s been harder to watch is the number of babies dwindling down. As of this writing, there are only 2 babies. It’s been an unusually cold winter so far, food has been scarce. Well… I guess that’s relative. For you see, we know there’s a predator bird flying around. I haven’t seen it so I can’t confirm what it is, but Kiddos have seen it. It’s a hawk or falcon or a kite or some such bird of prey. Kiddos have seen it dive-bombing the ducklings; they try to scare it off, and maybe they succeed for now but they can’t guard the ducklings all the time.  I’d love to see this. I think large birds of prey are really cool. It’d be cool too to see where it’s nesting, because obviously it’s nearby.

I’m of mixed emotion on it. Of course, it’s just nature and the way things are: nature has some critters produce large broods because it’s expected for most of them to die off in one way or another. That includes being food for other critters higher on the food chain. Furthermore gosh… if we had all 40 ducklings survive, that would have massively increased the muscovy population in the neighborhood, which would put other pressure upon the population and just lead to another round-up. So it’s all good… but it still sucks because geez… ducklings are cute. 🙂

Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.