In the aftermath of the recent tornadoes and thunder storms there is much clean up to do in our yard. While we didn't get any major damage of any kind we do have limbs down that must be burned. The wind in Arkansas this spring has been unlike anything I've ever seen - it almost blows me down at times and it's constant, rarely stopping. Early one morning my husband found a quiet, wind-free few minutes to try to burn the limbs,but this Mama Wood Duck, minus any babies, kept wandering in circles around a tall Sycamore tree near the fire. She acted as if she were hurt trying to distract my husband. He ignored her because he knew she wouldn't let him get close. This afternoon we saw the reason why!
We have a wood duck box out beside the lake. That mama duck hatched her babies yesterday. This mama we didn't even know we had! She was nesting inside the sycamore tree about 20 feet up. We didn't realize there was a hole there and frankly, now that we do, we find that scary because that means at least part of that tree is rotten.
While we were sitting on the deck watching these little black things kept dropping out of the tree. We thought they were gum balls because we have millions of those! Then we realized it wasn't gumballs; instead those little black things were baby ducks!
Mama wandered around and around the tree gathering them all up until finally she decided that was all she was going to get and off to the lake she went, babies waddling behind. I can't imagine how they lived through that jump from up so high!
There are so many and they bunch together so we can't get an accurate count but we've guessed at 15 or more. While we were standing watching the daddy duck went directly away from his family and cried pitifully trying to draw us away from them.
Mama didn't take them right out on the big lake but down a canal that runs beside our neighbor's property where it is a bit sheltered from the wind and the waves churned up by the boats going by. I wonder if I put a "Baby Crossing" sign out on my deck the boats would slow down. Naw, they don't slow down for human children so I guess wood ducks are out of the question.
Mother's Day is coming. I think this Mama Duck might deserve a present!