Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Saintly Momma Duck

Spotted this on a rock in the lake a few days ago-

For those who can't see properly, it's a momma wood duck with twenty-seven, yes, twenty-seven!, ducklings. With the exception of one who was slightly bigger, all the ducklings are the same size and I've seen the family paddling up and down the shorefront more than once. (Well they don't really paddle, they just sort of hydroplane in this gigantic cloud of fluffy cuteness.)

Looking into it though, wood ducks lay no more than 15 eggs usually, so something is amiss here. Some other wood duck had problems so this one adopted the brood, perhaps? Either way, she must have a great deal of patience with so many little ones.

EDIT: Bird girl saves the day! My sister the bird-studying graduate student looked into it and informs me that these are actually not wood ducks (as I'm used to calling them) but rather common goldeneye ducks, which often mix their young with other families. That could explain what's going on here!