Friday, June 13, 2014

Critters

The neighbors were the bearers of interesting news this week.  Mr. Neighbor hailed me from his front stoop as I was coming home from my walk the other night.

"I think you've got a duck nesting in your hostas."

No kidding?  This was news to me. 

The funny thing is, every year I see a pair of mallards trutzing through the yard for a couple weeks in April.  The drake follows the hen wherever she feels like going.


I took a couple photos from my kitchen window when I saw them this year, but I didn't post anything because I'd done that before (here, here, here, and here).  I'd come to believe our yard was just sort of an annual honeymoon stopover for these feathered friends.


The north side of our attached garage is lined with a variety of hosta.  I tend to ignore that side of the house, gardening-ly speaking, because it's just a strip between our house and the neighbors' and nobody can really see it, anyway.  Well, except the neighbors whose south-facing windows have a front row seat to any excitement or lack thereof happening on that side of our house.  It's mostly grass that won't grow well and the hosta doing their thing, as well as some astilbe and a smattering of lily of the valley that won't give up the ghost—a pretty uneventful view most of the time.

Mr. Neighbor padded over in his sock feet to show me where they had seen Mama Mallard scuttling between the bushes recently.  He parted the leaves in several places, but there was nothing there.  Hunh. 

"Well, keep an eye on it and let me know if you keep seeing her," I said.

Today Norm mowed the lawn and nothing stirred.  The big, loud, scary mower would come within inches of Mama Mallard if she was, in fact, sitting on a nest in there.

He decided to poke around a little more closely when he got done mowing to see if anything could be seen.  As he dug into a covering of what looked like leaf mulch, Mama scooted out!

She high-tailed it off somewhere to safety, while he came in the house with the news. I went out to see for myself, since she was gone for the moment. 


Sure enough, she has about 9 or 10 eggs in there!

We'll leave it alone until they're hatched, which may be a few weeks yet, according to this site.  The neighbors will have the best vantage point for whatever happens during that time.  I just hope I'm around to see her lead the little ducklings off to her favorite watering hole when it's time. 

It's not like we live directly on a lake or anything, so wherever she goes, it's going to be a bit of a hike. It could be to the ponds at the park (4 blocks away), the drainage swale near Walgreens (1 block) or the creek over the hill (3 blocks).  Only Mama knows for sure.


 Pretty cool, though, huh?

Now if I can just figure out what's been digging holes in every single flower pot I've planted this year.  That mystery continues, though I've got a few furry suspects in mind!

11 comments:

Mina said...

How interesting, I wonder if all those eggs will hatch.

Kim said...

Oh how sweet...a li'l romance amongst the Hostas!

Sandi@Piecemeal Quilts said...

So neat! Last year a pair nested in a raised planter in the center strip that divided two lanes of traffic on Main Street. Not only was there vehicle traffic, but it was where the farmer's market was held so every Saturday hundreds of people trundled by, most never even setting the ducks.

Hazel said...

I love hosta and I love ducks, so I really appreciate you searching the nest out and telling us all about it!

Michelle said...

Very cool indeed!

I enjoy the critters. Yesterday evening I had my back slider open (allergies and humidity be damned - I can't remember a June this agreeable). As it was just getting toward dusk, a couple of deer came walking right past my back deck. Very nice.

Sarah Craig said...

How cool is that! Can't wait to see the pics of the little babies. I can't remember if I posted about it, but one day I was talking to someone at my front door, when it suddenly started raining ducklings in my front yard! The mother duck had nested in on e of my tall trees and decided it was time for the babies to leave the nest, so she kicked them out, then came down to the yard to led them away. Such a sight!

Musings, Tea, and Me said...

I can't wait to see the chicks!

Shay said...

Mamma Duck did a great job of hiding her babies. Please take pictures of the chicks when they hatch!

This is such a cool thing to be able to see.

Mom Wald said...

That is so cool I can hardly STAND IT!!!!

Karen said...

So great!! I would prefer mallard over the condo nests under my deck of robins. Hope you get to see the babies. We had gophers (I think) that made perfectly round holes all over our lawn...my neighbor killed them with his bb gun :). He spared me the rite of burial which I am thankful for. Good luck investigating!

Elizabeth said...

That is really neat! I remember your duck posts with funny commentary. Those were awesome. But this is cool.

We have birds that have built a nest on the brick wall on our porch. The roof extends over it and hangs down a little bit so they are pretty sheltered in there. So they keep coming back every year and they fix up the nest so it will stay up on the wall. One year, another kind of bird took over the nest, so the regular birds built a new nest on top of the front porch light, right next to the front door. At first it was fun and exciting. Now it's, "the birds are back. I'm so excited to clean up after them."

xo -E

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