Friday, September 25

Darling Ducklings

I now know what kind of duck this is, Black-bellied Whistling Duck with a pink bill and feet (thanks Carol A. for info). I had thought there was only one duckling but when I returned home yesterday, I let out two dogs and Macha found the whole flock of ducklings hovering in the corner of the yard, under the lemon tree and banana trees. It was a yellow and black blur of little fur bodies scrambling to get through the fence to the other side AWAY from Macha. Unfortunately, Macha is just too quick and already had one in her mouth. I rescued it from Macha's jaws but it died in my hands. The rest of the bunch hurried off into the tall grass. I spent the rest of the afternoon searching for them with a bucket in hand. I wanted to collect them and take them to the river but I never found them. Not being able to find them is pretty incredible since the chicks are brightly colored yellow with black spots and there were about 10 of them traveling in a huddle.

Late last night, I kept hearing a bird calling, for hours. The birds are quiet at night. It sounded like a toucan but with more lift and flurry. I was told this type of duck whistle when they take off (hence the name). As I tried to go to sleep, listening to this weary call over and over, I couldn't help but wonder if the mother was calling out for her lost duckling (the one Macha killed). I wondered if all the flock was in a safe place and if she ventured out away from the others to call to her missing duckling as not to endanger the others. There are many hawks in the area.
Life is a challenge in the jungle. It really is survival of the fittest and the strongest (and smartest).


Anonymous said...

Great story. Watching your continuing duck saga! Thanks Teri,

Anonymous said...

That's a sad story. Lately I have been really focused on how much momma animals, of all kinds, care for and are aware of their babies. I bet you are right, that was the sound of the momma calling for her dead baby. I know that's life, but it breaks my heart. Humans will tell you that the death of a child is the hardest thing to go through in life; animals in the wild deal with it all the time. I wonder how long it will take her to "get over it", or even forget? Aw. I'm glad you rescued the rest. Here, people stop traffic to help momma ducks and their babies get across the roads to the river. It's nice to see.....