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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Disappearing and Re-appearing Ducklings

Duck breeding season is both a happy and a sad time for me. Happy because I love seeing all the adorable babies. Sad because many females are killed by male ducks and many ducklings are eaten. Already, I have witnessed gulls grabbing ducklings and eating at least one. They may also be responsible for the disappearance of this one, the last of about ten that hatched about 9 days ago.

The mom didn't seem to care.

Last year's "uneaten duckling," Miss Una, was seen with ten of her own ducklings. She's such a wonderful mama, very conscientious and loving.

Now, here's the weird part. Last Friday, Miss Una had six ducklings, including a lame one that got bit hard by a male and had trouble with his leg. On Saturday, Miss Una had only five ducklings, and I suspected that the lame one probably died from his injuries. However, when I walked around the curve, I found another female, possibly Miss Una's mother, with three ducklings the same age, including one with a hurt foot. She went one way and Miss Una happy went another way.

Today, that other mother was seen with at least 12 ducklings, including the one with the hurt foot. Some looked younger than others.

 One duckling didn't want to go with this other female. When I approached, he ran after the group, but went off on his own and stayed by himself for quite a long time, peeping now and then.

 Later, I saw Miss Una with the one duckling who seemed very happy just to stay with her.

The other female, with at least 11 or 12 ducklings, disappeared at first, but was later seen in the area. She seemed to want to keep her distance from Miss Una and her one duckling. The problem is that this mother takes a lot more risks with her babies than Miss Una and I fear that they may not make it.

For some weird reason, the gulls do not want to fly over this area. There's a kingbird actively attacking many birds, but I don't think they attack gulls. It could just be a fluke and they may decide they want to go over and grab some ducklings eventually.

The gosling season has started and, already, there are two broods. Two more broods will be arriving soon. 

RIP Mr. Pekin and Arthritis Duck:

After looking for them for over a week, I finally found out what happened to Mr. Pekin and the duck with arthritis. They both disappeared at the same time and I was sure that at least one of them was still around because it's rare that two would die suddenly. I found both of their remains today and it looks like they coyotes got both of them the same time. They had been following Miss Angel to this area which is a little further away than they usually go. Miss Angel is OK, however.  Those two were best friends until the last minute. They both join Mr. Squeaky who was killed by coyotes a few months ago.