Tuesday, April 13, 2010

just Ducky

We have a female mallard nesting in our front bushes this year. I'm not sure how long these ducks live, so I don't know if she is the same one who has nested in various places around our yard through the years, or if we've had the luck of different mothers each year. Either way, this one has chosen a bold and comfortable location for her nest.

Our house makes a sort of L shape, creating a little courtyard area tucked in the space at the front of the house. Our drier vent exhausts onto a small area of shrubs. If I was more fastidious a landscaper, this area would likely be free of old leaves and such, but I'm not, so there you go. Mama Duck seemed to appreciate my lack of effort, and made a fabulous little nest between two bushes where she'd also catch some warm air from the drier vent. Already, I know she's a brilliant duck mother!

I think mallards sit on their eggs for about three weeks before hatching, which means Mama Duck (or Delilah as I like to call her) will soon be sneaking off in the wee hours with her newly hatched brood. We've watched so many other nesting moms for weeks to wake up one morning and find everyone gone, this time it won't be a surprise. We'll be sad to see her gone one day, so to celebrate how thankful I am to have her here now, I'm taking pictures.

She looks like every other female mallard. There are loads of mallard couples around this neighborhood. Not sure why, but there are also a good dozen "spare" males hanging around too. One male & female mallard couple stops by fairly often, apparently to sit and chat with Delilah. I was thinking it was something like my grandparents did, when they went to visit with their neighbors and chat about life. My husband wondered if the male mallard just had a couple of "ladies" instead of being monogamous. I think we are both projecting our own little home life fantasies. (I think mine is a little less titillating, but we're still talking about ducks, so I won't digress too far.)

I'll be sad when Delilah has moved on, but I'll be able to plant flowers in the big planter behind her. I'll be able to move into Spring mode. But I am sad. I don't know what next year will bring in my life, so I am sad that this may be the last Spring nesting that I see of our little ducky friend. Happy. Sad. Anxious. All mixed together. happy spring.

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