Saturday, March 08, 2008

Duck Tales

In September, the broody spring month for EVERY bird on the planet . . we often have ducks visiting our swimming pool. Not Jemima type ducks but Australian Wood Ducks. They apparently nest in trees. And I must admit it's rather disconcerting hanging your washing out to a duck call only to look up and there's a vocal drake sitting in a gum tree pretending to be a Kookaburra!

It is a monogomous animal and breeding pairs stay together year round. It nests in tree holes, above or near water, often re-using the same site. Both parents feed young and young birds remain with them up to a month after fledging. Therein lies the rub.

We have had two particular visitors. I can't find the nest, which bothers me because they've been here for six months and it has to be close by. Much as I complain about the poo on coping stones they are so, so, so, cute. In December, they laid a clutch of eggs in the pebbles beside our pool. Obviously thinking that they were well camouflaged when in fact they were subject to searing heat. The dogs ate them after they were long gone. (I cleaned Lily's teeth with Colgate Tartare Control!)

Now, at the wrong time of year, they've hatched 9 . . well there were nine this morning, I can only count eight this afternoon and I've turned the filter off so the new swimmers wouldn't get sucked into the skimmer box. They can barely flip themselves out of the pool bless their little fluffy butts. But, it was picked off by something . . probably one of our magpie families . .or a crow. So here is my new family . . .1 day old and paddling like the clappers. They rarely raise more than two or three ducklings and it's heartbreaking knowing that half this little mob will be eaten.

I'm not one to interfere with nature but they've chosen inside the pool fence. A fox can easily penetrate but there are three dogs around and they HATE foxes (they must be very stinky - foxes, not dogs). They go ballistic when a fox approaches. So perhaps it wasn't a bad decision after all. I have helped them along just a tad by placing a cardboard box on its side for some nighttime shelter. We had the storm from hell last night. However, if they don't fledge by the 29th March, BabyBro might be a little upset about the pool area being quarantined as a wildlife preserve. He's having a party!

If you want to see more, check the Bainos Pics link on the right hand side. I'll photograph them as long as they're around.

Proud mum . . .

I'm getting the wing flip here . . keep away or I'll knock you over with a feather!

Happy family on the pool step!

Defensive Daddy, he's so tough he ran and quacked at a labrador!
(then hopped in the pool for safety)


Thriftcriminal said...

Mmmmm, crispy aromatic. Just kidding, very cute. We have swallows that come to our hose every year to raise their smalls. Poo all over the cars as they are below their approach path

Grannymar said...

I like ducklings! Lovely pics.

Baino said...

I meant to say I want no mention of orange sauce or confit. Anyway, they've moved on now . . no feathers so hopefully to a safe haven. Swallows in your 'hose' Thrifty that's either very uncomfortable or they're very small! Better swallows than fruit bats - sticky figgy poo. My how the tone has been set!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHHAAA Weeeeeeeee! I LOVE your pool visitors and great photos! Very funny about your pool area becoming a haven and wildlife reserve. Luckily for Babybro's party they have moved on. Perhaps the fact I've never seen one of their nests lies in the fact they "laid a clutch of eggs in the pebbles beside our pool". Maybe people just THINK they nest in hollows of trees but they really just dump eggs wherever, which are eaten and leave no evidence .... Hmmm ... Going to go see more at 'Baino's Pics' now!

Baino said...

Anony: Yep, no sign of them today but they did spend the night in the carboard box if poo is any indication! Probably just as well, I was worried about the little featherballs being sucked into the skimmer box.

Thriftcriminal said...

Yeah, typing is a bit shot lately :-)

Clare & Jem's Excellent Adventures said...

Awww, they're so cuuuuuutteee!!! Pool's looking good for a change!!