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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mom and a dozen ducklings

Today, I saw a mom with at least a dozen ducklings, give or take one.  She was leading them into a bad spot on the lake.  The ducklings were everywhere and not paying attention to mom:

Sometimes, it takes a day or two before mama and babies are in sync, so the babies just run everywhere, sometimes far away from their mother.

The good thing is that they don't have any worries or fears and if they get caught by a predator, they die quickly.  This mama seemed not to care that most of her ducklings were going awry.

Lots of bugs and a chance to get feed by people in this area.  Unfortunately, this is also a high gull, crow, raven, and heron area.

Not a care in the world:

Here is mom with 11 of the ducklings going everywhere.  I think there was one or two out of frame.

Close-ups of a few of them:

The killer Pekin drakes were there (they killed a mallard hen last weekend), but paid no mind at all to the ducklings.  Even their large female friend didn't bother them.  But, one of the Pekins tried to do something, probably trying to mate with mama, and mama duck kicked his butt.

 This might be "Fish Food Mama", but I'm not sure.  She didn't seem to be a good mama.  I'm thinking she might have been overburdened with too many ducklings and brought them to this area to thin out her brood so that only the most attentive, strongest ducklings were left for her to care for.  Or, she was trying to give them an advanced lesson in predators.

It was interesting, though, when I looked through my binoculars about fourty-five minutes later.  She was surrounded by gulls and crows, all within reach of her babies.  But, they were very hesitant with her.  I think a crow might have gotten one baby, but I'm not 100% sure.  One juvenile gull swiped at some of her straying babies and they immediately rushed over to mama.  The rest of the gulls just watched her.  The ducklings seemed to be learning a lesson and quickly gathered up next to mama and the mother duck swam right past about 6 gulls who did not attack, even when three or four of the ducklings strayed away.  It will be interesting to see how many she has left when I see her again.  I do notice that the gulls and crows don't mess with certain mother ducks.  It is this respect for this mother duck that makes me think that she is "Fish Food Mama", the potential gull-killer and attacker of hawks.


Have you heard the roosters crowing at Lake Murray?  Apparently, they were dumped there last weekend.  One rooster has, since, died, but not from a predator.  This is a new problem because of people buying chicks for their backyard flocks only to find a few roos in them.  Roosters are not allowed in the city limits and, instead of rehoming or sending them to "freezer camp", they dumped them at the lake.  Please buy your chicks sexed or buy only adults.  Otherwise, be prepared for roos and deal with them accordingly other than dumping them and giving the coyotes free food.

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