Last year, the pair of Australian Wood Ducks successfully raised eleven ducklings to maturity, and we were hoping they would be able to do the same for the twelve ducklings in this year’s brood. The ducks frequently walk from wherever they nest to the grass verge in front of the dam to forage, and this gives us an opportunity to check numbers. Twelve days ago we noticed there were only ten ducklings, and today there were nine.
Looking at their healthy growing bodies, they don’t lack food, so I guess the culprit is a fox, an owl or a raptor of some description.
Fluffy ducklings are an irresistible photographic opportunity, so I hope you don’t mind indulging me with these shots. The first four were taken on 28 September and show ten ducklings. The second four were taken today and nine.
In the next four photos, taken today, you can see how much they have grown over the last twelve days. Before we know it, they’ll be flying!
2 thoughts on “And then there were nine…with apologies to Agatha Christie!”
I like the second picture!
Thanks! It always makes me smile when they group together and run. The adult birds are highly attentive and I still don’t know what the signal is, but whenever it is given, the ducklings are instantly on alert and running in formation. Often one parent is at the front and the other at the back. I’ve seen the male bird chase the magpie to protect the others.
My attempt to photograph this was unsuccessful, but the male duck sneaked around the back of the tree, and then burst out running and flapping his wings madly at the unsuspecting magpie. Unfortunately, a second magpie appeared and together the magpies were able to drive the duck back into the dam. I find it amazing that this doesn’t daunt the ducks. They wait five minutes and then come back to where they were. The food must be good in that spot!