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Of Ducks and Grackles

So... We tried. We tried to give the mallards the idea that this is not the ideal location. We even lit a fire to show them that yes, sometimes it gets smoky around here.

Instead, they took a long parambulatory tour of the garden. All around the deck, through the alium, through the creeping hydrangea, the beds of poppy and bellflower, and the squill, taking care to trample everything to decide on its suitability for nesting material. They took all afternoon.

Or should I say SHE did. He, like males everywhere, had already decided on the best place (behind the peonies, and in the shade of the water barrel). He sat there for half an hour, quacking for her to join him. As she parambulated some more, poking her bill into everything and sampling what was there. She eventually looked in on the spot he'd chosen, said "yes, very nice dear...", sat for a decent interval, and then moved on.

Eventually, she decided on a place, no doubt cementing permanently her hubby's impression of her wacky impetuosity idiosyncratic charms. Where else would a duck build a nest than on a peaked roof? Right here:

Yep. In the honeysuckle, right above the arch that bridges from the shed to the pool. Right next to where one set of grackles was already setting up shop.

As you can see, Mrs. Grackle II took one look at the new situation and has been considering relocation. Here she is, arriving with new nesting material, just in time to meet the new neighbours:

We are now considering getting hold of a used kiddie-pool and dumping the contents of the pool cover into it, should ducklings be the result. That is, if the eggs don't roll off.

But seriously. On a roof? What was she thinking?


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 19th, 2013 11:05 am (UTC)
Charming photos!
May. 19th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
Dawww! I love your kiddie pool solution <3 <3 <3
May. 20th, 2013 08:41 am (UTC)
Turns out, based on research, this may not be the best plan. Rather, feeding mum until she's comfortable eating out of a pet mover is better. Followed by a sudden relocation to the wetlands about 1KM from here.
May. 20th, 2013 08:42 am (UTC)
All this, presumably, before she lays her eggs?

(why isn't the baby pool a good idea? Oh wait: let me guess: no food?)
May. 20th, 2013 08:44 am (UTC)
No, after the hatching. That is, if we can't convince her to move before the eggs.

Which may be the case. They weren't here this morning, so they may have exhausted the limited food already.
May. 20th, 2013 08:46 am (UTC)
I'd think it would be super hard to move all those ducklings! But maybe yeah, she's found a better place.

Good on Cara Sposa doing the research, though, to find out what would be best for them!
May. 20th, 2013 08:48 am (UTC)
'Tis her nature to do so.

But yes, simpler to ask them to move beforehand. Don't want a repeat of the raccoon drama.

Speaking of which, I did a short fiction for that. Have time for a gander? (pardon the pun).
May. 20th, 2013 08:50 am (UTC)
Today I double booked for editing work (because I'm an idiot and don't manage multiple calendars well), but I'd love to take a look if I could send you a reply email sometime later in the week.
May. 20th, 2013 08:51 am (UTC)
...which is why you're on LJ this morning. ;)

Sure, that would be great. Now, go forth and edit!
May. 20th, 2013 08:58 am (UTC)
You know me TOO WELL.
May. 19th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
I've seen geese nest in high places -- no idea whether that proves it's doable, just that waterfowl will try it.
May. 20th, 2013 08:40 am (UTC)
Yes, Cara Sposa has been researching. Apparently, sometimes they even nest in flowerpots on terraces high over the city. And will walk up to two miles to the nearest water.

So our plan is morphing....
May. 21st, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
We have a pair of ducks who seem to have adopted our koi pond as an overnight stopover on their migration route. For the past couple of years, they've stopped off, swum around in the pond for a day or two, and then moved along.

Thank goodness they haven't taken up residence. The raccoons are eating enough of the fishies as it is.
May. 22nd, 2013 11:55 am (UTC)
I think they've fished out the pond of its wee inhabitants. They're still stopping by every day, but not overnighting.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )