Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rite of Spring - Mallard Family Returns

MallardsThe Mallards are back. True, they don't go very far away over the winter, but it is one of the sure signs of spring when our pair come back to swim together on the little creek behind our house. Well, since in about 6 weeks a dozen ducklings will be following them to the creek, we can assume they have activities other than swimming to fill their days but we'll gloss over that to avoid the cyber-censors.

Mallards in small numbers are a likeable sort of wildlife. They are colorful. They are very attentive parents towards their brood. They aren't excessively noisy or messy like the Canada geese that fly over every morning and night. Of course, the operational term here is small numbers. At a planned pond nearby there are dozens of Mallard pairs. Not only is it crowded over there and noisier, but there's also the...uh...droppings in mass quantities. It's difficult to find an assured clear landing for one's feet.

The experience of our neighborhood has been mostly a single nesting pair and some bachelors. Remarkably none of their young seem to come back here to raise their own families. But that is really a good thing and might have to do with limited resources because, except for a few rare bread crumbs, no one intentionally feeds them. They have, however, been accused of filching the goldfish from the neighbor's fountain and pond. I stepped into that one two summers ago.

"Aren't the baby ducks cute?"

"Humph. They'll probably grow up to raid my goldfish, too."

"Oh, sorry."

How was I to know they had goldfish. I didn't even know they finally got the pond to hold water. Some days you just can't say the right thing no matter what. But they did install a couple of Owl decoys near the pond, so at least they are trying to peacefully co-exist.


sylvia c. said...

what a wonderfully bright picture!

thanks for sharing!


Sylvia C.

G's Cottage said...

It's always very green along this little creek. In the mornings the Sun's acute angle creates the glow seen here. In the afternoon the canopy of trees makes for a shady refuge from too much sun.