Little duckas

One of the benefits of having a bush block is the wildlife you get to share it with. We dug out 3 largish pools down the back to take the overflow from the water tank, and since then, over the years, we’ve had a number of Pacific Black Ducks as part of the family. They tend to adapt to people very well; the Wood Ducks and the little Chestnut Teal which also visit are more wary and won’t let anyone near them.

Although it’s very late in the season for breeding, this not-to-be-deterred Mum turned up yesterday with 6 little duckas in tow.

duckasup.jpg

She’d probably laid over a dozen eggs initially and these are the survivors. Sadly, most years we see their numbers eventually whittled down to nothing by (presumably) fox predation. It takes 10 – 12 weeks before they’re able to fly and that’s a long time to survive in an area where the water bodies are generally small and rapidly drying out as well.

There’s a larger pool across the road from us and she’s probably had them in there, hidden under the water lilies. I generally feed all the ducks a couple of times a day with rolled oats in a dish of water. Often the female will make the young ones stay put while she comes over for a quick feed. Amazing that they know not to follow when Mum says so.

I marvel at the way they learn about predators. They can all be eating quite happily when Mum will look up, give a short sharp quack and they all head for the nearest cover or flatten themselves against the ground. I look up and it often takes me quite a while to pick up the tiny black spot of the hawk slowly circling far above. But they never bother about aeroplanes.

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