Latest update: 5th August 2008
Another duck nest this year, eight eggs hatched
successfully on 29th May 2008, the first ducklings in 10 years.
They stayed for up to nine weeks before flying away. This page has photos of the ducklings hatching on
29th May 2008 and their first four weeks of life.
Ducks - 2008 Nest has photos of the
nest and pond up until they eggs hatched. Young Ducks - 2008 has photos
of the ducklings from four weeks old in late June until they left in August 2008.
Another site showing 13 weeks of duckling development may also be of interest.
The eggs started hatching during the
early morning of 29th May 2008, even from the CCTV it's hard to know
when since the duck was sitting on them. She got forced off the nest by rogue males three times that morning,
at 5am there were a mix of ducklings and eggs, this CCTV image at 6am still shows two eggs, by 7am the nest
appeared to be just ducklings.
About 10am on 29th May 2008, three
newly hatched duckling heads appear from underneath mum. When she finally
left the nest at 11am, there were eight hatched ducklings and one egg left. A week later I removed the last egg, which
was still liquid and therefore non-fertile.
About 11am, the ducklings leave the nest for the first time, fortunately while I was watching.
All eight ducklings in the pond.
And still following mum around.
Mum catches up on her own feeding.
Still exploring the pond.
Mum leads them back to the island shallow beach area.
And they climb back onto the island.
And back into the nest. For
the first day, this cycle repeats every 45 to 60 minutes, ducklings escape from
the island fence into the water, mum follows and brings them back to the nest after about 10 minutes foraging.
One day old now, I put some duck
food onto rocks around the pond, which the ducklings are trying to eat. I
at 4.45am to guard the pond, at which time six males were sitting on the house roof waiting to feed in the pond. Still one
egg in the nest. She has been forced off the nest three times, each time all the ducklings follow, but she has not flown
away, just moved to the side of the pond or onto the path, or up to the top pond where some of the ducklings followed
and returned down the stream when I shooed the males away. There was heavy rain yesterday afternoon, and poor
light this morning, better photos when it gets brighter.
Two days old, and the ducklings start looking for food around the plants.
Ducklings swimming around the island.
This is how the ducklings spend
much of their time, mum sits bow legged with all eight ducklings protected
her belly. During daylight, they get restless every 30 minutes or so, and swim off into the pond, followed by mum, after
10 to 15 minutes she gets them back onto the island and the process repeats.
The ducklings are already
climbing the rockery to the top pond, where there is more natural food, due to
no fish. They
usually lead the way, followed by mum, so have already worked out it's worth visiting. But visiting the top pond is
dangerous, the cats and foxes walk beside it, and the ducklings can not yet fly back into the main pond, which is
what adults do if caught up there.
Sometimes they come down the stream back into the main pond, more often they just climb back down the rockery.
And back at the bottom of the stream.
All eight ducklings sunbathing. The globe is an LED light, not a golf ball.
The ducklings left alone in the
nest, but with some fresh straw. Mum is flying away and leaving them alone
twice a day, usually for 15 to 20 minutes. But once she left for 45 minutes during which time the ducklings got restless
and went foraging around the pond on their own, including a visit to the top pond.
One of the local foxes watching
the pond very early one morning. She may be a mother from a den under a
in the next garden.
Six days old, foraging in the pond shallow area.
Mum and ducklings sitting beside
the pond, filter tanks near the fence emptying into the top settlement pond,
most of the algae (i.e. mud) ends up.
The ducklings attacking the fish floating pond sticks, which they seem to enjoy.
The family climbing the bank
behind the main pond up to the top settlement pond. This was this last photo
eight ducklings. By the evening, one duckling had disappeared. Never did discover which animal caught the duckling,
the crow and neighbour's cats have caught fledgling starlings next to the pond, so probably got the duckling while it
was feeding at the top pond, maybe while mum was away from the pond in the afternoon. Unfortunately the CCTV
does not cover the top pond, and trees obscure the view from the office window. I put a reed screen behind the top
pond to provide more safety.
Early the next morning the fox
is back, and mum is behaving very aggressively, she can be seen quacking in this
photo and also beat her wings in the water splashing the fox when it got near the pond. But the fence around the island
has stopped the fox jumping onto the island this year.
Mum and ducklings sleeping on
the island, most of the koi queued next the to stream inlet to the pond looking
food from the top pond.
The family asleep again.
Ducklings are eight days old and seem to doubled in size, now only seven.
Feeding again in the shallow area, where I leave Duck & Swan pellets, although the pigeons eat it as well.
The ducklings are now happy to
sleep away from mum, particularly when the sun is out, but do tend to keep
now nine days old. Mum is still leaving them about twice a day, while they sleep.
The ducklings sleep on the main
lawn, watched by fledgling starlings, unhappy about being able to reach the pond
When the sun is out, the ducklings are happy to sleep apart, but they still huddle together for warmth otherwise.
Now 11 days old, about the leave the island to go foraging.
Three adult males, slowly losing
their grey feathers, by August they will have the same colouring as the female,
from the head.
Ducklings are now two weeks old
and growing very fast, at least doubled in size. They are eating the fish
sticks, Duck & Swan pellets, tadpoles and anything else they can find.
There's a shelf in this corner of the pond were I feed the Duck & Swan pellets.
Getting more independent.
Male ducks are still visiting
the pond two or three times a day looking for food, but are no longer
trying to force
themselves on mum, it's finally the end of the breeding season. I've taken the duck nesting box off the island (suspect
only ducks born in a box will lay in a box) so there's more room for the growing ducklings.
Now 16 days, and foraging again.
Getting larger, day by day.
The ducklings have flattened
most of the long grass on the island by continually moving around. I've
left the temporary
fence to give them protection, next year I'll find a better looking fence.
Looking more like ducks than ducklings, now 17 days old.
Getting more adventurous, sleeping on the main lawn.
The ducklings are far to large to site under mum, but still mostly sleep together.
Ducklings are now three weeks
old, they have short wings which they flap occasionally and their feet are very
allowing them to swim very fast across the pond.
The grass on the island is now heavily soiled, so I've added straw to make their sleeping more pleasant.
Napping between feeding.
Stretching and washing
Three and a half weeks old, when the sun is out the seven ducklings sleep apart.
Feeding in the top settlement
pond, the bamboo screen stops cats and foxes getting too close. The outlet
pond got blocked by oxygenating plants the day before, disturbed by the ducklings, which caused the top pond to
overflow causing over 1,000 gallons to overflow during the night, dropping the pond level by over six inches and
causing the ducklings problems getting back onto the island.
The ducklings eating fish floating pond sticks, about 5kg a week!
One of my cats, Percy, ignoring the ducks.
Young Ducks - 2008 has photos of the duckling from four weeks old in late June until they leave in August 2008.
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