When I first arrived, I was absolutely shocked to see that Fish Food Mama had only one duckling left. At first glance, he appeared to be fairly healthy. Except, I did notice that he had no interest in eating. Mama took him to some slimy rocks with yummy algae and bugs and made exaggerated feeding motions, but all the duckling wanted to do was hide. Mama was acting strange, too, constantly quacking and making faces at me to tell me to back off even when I wasn't any closer than I usually am.
When I got home and looked at the photos, I could see that the duckling wasn't looking healthy at all.
Something was wrong with his face and eyes, it was almost as if he had a hard time keeping his eyes open.
I noticed, in several photos, that he swam with his eyes constantly closed like the other one that was sick before. Here, he swam up to Mama, bumped into her, and grabbed onto some of her feathers. This may have been a sign of co-ordination problems like the other one had on Wednesday.
At one time, Mama flew away, abandoning her duckling and began flirting with the boys on the other side of the parking lot. But, her duckling began to scream for her and she returned. However, later in the day, Mama was duckling-less and hanging out with the boys. She seemed to be acting normal, though I could hear a warning quack come out of her when gulls flew close by. Before I saw the photos of the last duckling, I was mad at Mama for abandoning her baby and possibly not doing enough to protect the others, but now I know what happened was beyond her control.
If it was illness, I hope it's not something contagious and makes Mama or any of the other ducks sick, too. I am hoping that Mama will have another brood or two next year.
In better news, the young duck on the right of these four is, most likely, the son of Snowy and his mate. Snowy's mate had eight ducklings this year, was last seen with four and of that four at least one was known to have been caught by a predator. I am not sure if any of the other ducks in this group are related to him.
Here he is in the afternoon. That duck in the background is, I think, one of Brown Mama's ducklings. I think he may have two sisters, or Fish Food Mama's two young daughters like hanging out with him.
And, a shot of the dad of the three black ducklings. I am worried that he won't be around next spring to make more of them because he's getting old. They were my favorite, I just loved seeing them and want to see more of that color.
And, the crested and buff duck:
And, Donald, the oldest Pekin at the lake.