We have been on the lookout for an opportunity to study ducks this month as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge newsletter suggestions for August. Our local pond is usually a good spot but we cruised by there earlier in the month only to discover that there were in fact no ducks on the pond right now, only geese. We were a little discouraged and trying to brainstorm another pond in the area to visit. As if they knew we were looking for some ducks to observe, a small group found us while we were out on a near-by lake having some fun with our boat.
We were out on the lake taking a break from our water sports activities (wakeboarding for Mr. A and water-skiing for the Dad) when a mama and some juvenile mallard ducks came up to visit. There were six smaller ducks that we are assuming were the babies of the female in the group. The water was very clear and we could easily watch them use their specially designed feet to paddle around in the water. We noted that the little ducks had fluffy feathers on their backs and were not as smooth yet as the adult female in the group. We observed the flat long beak that they were dipping into the water.
I am pretty sure they were inquiring to see if we had any crumbs or goodies to share with them. They were very bold and came right up to the side of the boat…not really quacking but making a sort of peeping/squeaking sound. We didn’t see any males out on the water. We did read later that it is the females that incubate the eggs and take care of hatchlings so this fits in with our observations.
Here is what the AllAboutBirds website says about the female mallard (love the word dabbling):
- Large dabbling duck
- Streaked brown and tan overall
- Dark blue patch on wing
- Dull orange and black bill
We wondered as always why the females are not as colorful as the males….she does have a pretty blue spot on her wing which really is her only decoration.
We enjoyed our encounter with the lake ducks and it was fun to observe them from the waterside instead of from the shore. We could really see their swimming and paddling abilities in action. We could also note the way the water does really run off the feathers on their back, making them appear water resistant. Maybe next time we will observe some ducks flying….giving us another glimpse into this beautiful creature.
Make sure to submit your entries to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Tomorrow afternoon is going to be the deadline for entries since I need to finish it up early this month. You can submit your entries by following this LINK.
4 thoughts on “Our Mallard Duck Study – Unexpected Place and Time”
Beautiful pictures. So up close and colorful. Thanks for sharing.
Ducks are beautiful creatures, aren’t they? I love the word dabbling, too. 🙂
So there you were, just dabbling along in your boat and happened upon ducks for your nature study! Love the beautiful photos.
Female birds are not as showy as the males because they sit on nests and have to be able to blend in with their surroundings. Males are showy so that they can attract mates.