Wild baby ducks!
I love baby ducks!
I just love ducklings and I thought I would create a whole lens devoted to them. Right now, this lens is mostly about wild ducklings, including wild-born hybrids. Most of the ducklings in this lens live at Lake Murray in San Diego, California.
The photo to the left is of Butterscotch, a full-blooded mallard and her dozen ducklings (10 are shown). She ended up only raising about four of them, though. She is one of three sisters that were raised the year before. In total, they had about 14 surviving ducklings despite swimming around under a heron's nest and the heron constantly stalking them.
Unfortunately, the results for 2012 weren't so good for the three sisters. One sister, Caramel, died that year before her eggs could hatch. And, the other sister, Peaches, lost her entire clutch to gulls this year. Butterscotch disappeared with her latest clutch of ducklings soon after they hatched, so it is unknown if any survived this year. But, it looks like gulls got her entire clutch as well. The three sisters are very close, but they all bred at different times and seemed so lost without each other. Peaches, especially, wanted to be with her sister and mother more than anything, but was torn between being with them and protecting her ducklings. The previous year, the gulls weren't so bad, so she may have been unprepared for their attacks.
In 2014, Butterscotch had an early set of ducklings. Two ducklings even got lost, but only one was caught and returned to her. Unfortunately, like a lot of ducklings this year, none of them survived past a week. This year was not a good year for ducklings, only a few survived to adulthood.
***All the photos on this lens were taken by me (and are copyrighted) with the exception of the Allposters photos which are for sale through the Allposters site. Please ask if you would like to use my photos before doing so.
First ducklings of 2016 Breeding Season!
My wild baby duck videos and sideshows!
Here are some videos and sideshows I've created on wild baby ducks. The first two is of Fish Food Mama, the next one is of Pepper's family (Pepper is the star of his own book!), then comes Neo, and, finally, Snowie's ducklings hatched in 2014.
This is sorta based on the true stories of ducklings that get lost in a storm drain, but it has a happy ending that many children can relate to. It is recommended for older children even though it's a picture book. Younger children who love ducks might like this as well.
Wild baby duck poll
The photo above is of a mother mallard and her three ducklings (Peaches, Caramel and Butterscotch). I like mallard ducklings. What kind of wild duckling do you like?
*I added Muscovy ducklings to the poll because they are considered to be truly wild to parts of Texas and Latin America.
Wild Baby Duck Poll!
Which wild baby ducks are your favorite?
Enjoying wild baby ducks:
Ducklings hatch covered with down and can usually leave the nest within a day. Most of the time, mothers will wait until they hatch all the eggs before moving the entire family off the nest. Families can initially be very large, as many as fourteen or fifteen ducklings depending on the species. After they leave the nest, they then forage and feed on their own with mom leading around to the best areas to find what they nutritionally need.
Ducklings face many hazards just in their first two weeks in life. Often, a large brood is hard for one mother to keep warm and many babies die from hypothermia within the first few days. Also, they require a certain amount and type of food all while they are trying to keep up with mom and hide from predators. Many ducklings fail to get adequate nutrition and these often die between the ages of two to six days. Then, there are predators such as herons, hawks, turtles and even large fish that like to feast on ducklings. In the end, a successful mother will end up with three or four ducklings reaching adulthood.
If you find a wild duckling on its own, step back and observe before rescuing it, unless it's in immediate danger. Ducklings will peep loudly and look for their mom for a long time. Most of the time, they find their parents or their parents come looking for them. If you must rescue a duckling, take it to a wildlife rehabber as it is illegal to possess wild baby ducks without certain paperwork and permits.
Duck mothers generally only care for their own babies and will attack strange babies.. However, sometimes when two families meet, some ducklings get mixed up and end up going off with the other family. If families do get mixed up, it will most likely happen when the babies are a few days old up to about a week old and usually between closely-related mothers who nested near each other. Some wild duck mothers do not hatch their own ducklings, but steal some from other mothers who have large broods, but this is rare. Most mothers prevent strange females from getting too close to their babies.
Wild Baby Duck Photos! - Photos that I took of wild baby ducks!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Baby wood ducks! - Cute!
Wood ducks are known to nest in trees and nest boxes. When their babies hatch, the mother leads them to jump out and follow her to the nearest body of water. However, they don't always need to nest in trees, but it's helpful for them to protect the eggs and young babies from predators. At Lake Murray, they tend to either nest on the ground or on low-hanging trees with thick branches. In 2011, two moms raised two broods at the lake.
Baby wood duckling getting ready to jump!
Baby Wood Duck
This baby wood duck is ready to jump! Wood ducks frequently nest in trees or wood duck nesting boxes. After the ducklings hatch, the mother leaves and calls to them. The ducklings then jump out of the nest which can be over 30 feet off the ground! Most ducklings survive these jumps with no issues and quickly follow mom away from the nest.
This poster is available on Allposters.com. Click on the link to order.