Monday, July 15, 2013
Snowie's last baby
Sadly, Snowie's weak duckling didn't make it through the weekend and now she only has one baby left, pictured above. But, on the positive side, because mom and sibling don't have to stop foraging and rest so often, the remaining baby is eating voraciously and growing quickly. He is still about a week behind in growth and may end up being a small adult, if he survives, but he's starting to catch up.
This particular mother doesn't make demands of her ducklings, but, instead, shadows and shows them where to eat, following the duckling's cues as to where he wants to go instead of directing him. This duckling is beginning to get his smarts and is starting to realize when it's not safe and moving to another area if he's uncomfortable. He's very healthy, so, hopefully, he'll make it to adulthood.
He looks a lot like his mama. I'm not sure what breed she is, but she and her mate looks a lot like bantam appleyards mixed with mallards. At one time, I thought they were snowy mallards or Welsh harlequins, but I can now see the appleyard in them. But, the babies definitely have a lot of mallard in them, too.
This is dad and he's not interested in mom or babies anymore because his hormones have begun to diminish. Right now, he wants to groom his new feathers coming in:
The baby coots were nearby making calls. I rarely ever see their parents around. They sometimes fight with each other.
This is a juvenile pied-billed grebe sunning himself on a rock. Mom was nearby.
For all you perching bird fans, here's a very territorial and aggressive hooded oriole. He does NOT like the grackles, which are potential chick eaters. That could be why no grackles or other blackbirds are breeding in this particular tree this year.
I didn't see any females around, but I'm sure his aggressive displays are to show any prospective females, hiding nearby, what a good protector and father he is.
I think we need loads more of him and kingbirds to keep the grackles and crows in check.
I think this might be Gaddy's (the gadwall's) sister. I haven't seen her in a long time, I think she left the lake to breed somewhere else. She was laying funny in the water when I first saw her, so I hope she's OK. She also might be an early migrating female and not a native of the lake at all.
If she's the native girl, I can see that she still likes the mallard boys. I wonder if she had any hybrid ducklings: