OK. It’s time for a status update on our (very) local mallard family.
Because mallards typically nest on the ground, the tube is a step up both literally and in terms of the survivability chances for the young, especially since we have a brood of foxes in a den not 20 feet away. Given that our pond’s island will peek its head out in the next week or 2, if Plainfield is spared a deluge, I expect the family has a better than average chance of survival. The island was put there for the specific purpose of giving waterfowl a refuge. We’ll see if it works as designed.
Each morning the drake chases every other duck away and even goes after a wood duck drake that sometimes tries to sneak in.
The hen is now spending a small portion morning and afternoons (2 hrs each?) out of the nesting tube dabbling/foraging but the rest of the time she’s snug in the straw. As you can see from the photo below most of the tube is intact. This is a bit of a surprise as I read over the winter that the hen and weather can really pull a lot of the nesting substrate away and the tube can begin to look patchy and incomplete. I guess either I got the ratio of material to tube just right, got lucky with the weather/wind, we have a careful hen or some combination of all three. Once she is on the nest for long periods and the drake leaves (he’ll do that once the eggs are laid) we’ll know that we have 23-30 days before ducklings emerge. Keep an eye on this space!