Hello! Most of my posts take place around San Diego County, (Mostly Lake Murray) unless otherwise noted.
For more posts and photos, I also post on Hubpages, a site that is a bit different than others. Thanks!: Shorebirdie on Hubpages

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tragedy of the abandoned duckling and more duck updates

Snowie and her nearly 5 week old baby

I haven't been to the lake for a while and I thought I'd give a short duck update.  Unfortunately, I wasn't there very long before there was a duckling tragedy.  I heard a duckling peeping very loudly and I thought I heard a female duck in the same area, but when I arrived where the duckling was, I saw no females around the entire area.  There was a small duckling, hours old,  running around to all the other ducks, who were all male, peeping his head off.  I am thinking he came from across the lake where there might be a nest or other ducklings as I've seen ducklings cross the lake by themselves, then swim back on their own.  So, he turned as if he was going back across the lake when I saw the gulls flying around.  I got my camera to take a photo of him while I figured out how to rescue him or find his mama.

One of the older gulls, probably at least 8 years old, flew around to the far side of me and grabbed the duckling right in front of me.  The duckling didn't even know what was coming until the gull was a foot away and tried to run, but was grabbed by the gull.  I tried to get a photo of the gull with the duckling, but the camera wouldn't work because of the speed and low light.  So, this next photo is all I got.  here, he had just dropped the duckling and was landing.

I had a photo where I could see the duckling in the water, but it was too late for him.  He was probably already dead as he was hanging in the water head-first.  In fairness to the gull, though it really did upset me, he did give fair warning as he took his time grabbing the duckling.  Had his mother been there, he might have survived.

Later, I tried to find the mama duck and the rest of her ducklings.  I found this female, who looked like "Ducklingnapper" with a green bill, quacking and calling for someone.  Ducklingnapper frequently knaps ducklings from inattentive mothers.  Perhaps she lured the duckling away from its mama to this area.  Usually, she's really good at taking care of them.

This was the female I heard in the area when the duckling started peeping.  She wasn't there when I got to the duckling, but I saw her fly from across the lake to this area, a half hour later, and begin quacking.  I thought maybe she was the mother looking for her baby.  But, I think she was just looking for her mate because when she found him, she stopped vocalizing.  I do think she has a nest across the lake, somewhere.  Perhaps this duckling hatched early and may have heard his mother quacking for her mate and went to look for her.  She may not have even known he was following her or that he was even one of hers.

I just hope that little duckling wasn't dumped as people often dump ducks at the spot where I found him.

I also saw this young female whom I thought was Fish Food Mama, but it might be one of her daughters. She's not ready to have ducklings, yet.

Snowie's baby is still alive and hasn't grown much since last week.  And, he still swims with his eyes closed.

I think this is Neo, but I'm not sure this duck is his girlfriend, Zippy.  But, Neo is very attractive to the females, so this new duck probably likes him, too.


Unfortunately, Bumblefoot is not doing well at all and seems very sick.  She still gets up, swims and eat, but acts very tired and it's obvious her leg and foot hurt.

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