Do you remember the children’s game “Duck, Duck, Goose”? I just loved that game back in the day! This season, I feel like I’ve been playing the adult version of the game, with so many duck and goose families popping up wherever I go walking or birding.
Is there anything cuter than a duckling? Can you stand the sweetness of these little balls of fluff?? If you pause long enough and observe them, you can begin to make out their little personalities. The pleaser, who easily falls in line with mom. The scaredy duck, who sticks close to mom no matter what. The duckling who keeps getting distracted by a bug in the water, or just about anything, and has to scramble to catch up with the others… Honestly, I could watch them all day!
The ultimate duckling experience for me has been observing the wood ducks. Wood ducks are not something I’ve had the privilege of seeing in the wild before. Maybe I had seen them, but didn’t notice. The female’s subtle browns with her small hint of a crest and dramatic white eye patch is exquisite. Her chicks all have the dark “eyeliner” similar to the mallard, but also have a lighter face and white patch on their body that is unique. So far, no male wood duck sightings, but I’m still looking!
The mallard ducklings are quite yellow and fuzzy and adorable in every way. They already have the dark “eyeliner” stripe on their faces. The mallards where I walk seem to be much more accustomed to human contact and don’t mind us coming a little closer than the wood ducks allow.
Confession time: I have developed a bias against Canada geese. They are beautiful, their chicks are adorable, and they can be equally fun to watch as ducks. However, they hiss, they breed and multiply and leave their droppings everywhere! As summer progresses, the poop minefields expand, birding conversation turns to “watch out”, “poop there”, “don’t step backward”, “poop to your left”, etc. While we set out to focus above, we increasingly must focus on below to ensure none of us experiences a cartoon-like slip, skid, fall on the green stuff.
Thank you for visiting, thank you for hearing my confession. It is my sincere hope that you will get out in nature this day. If you can, go to a water source and enjoy the waterfowl. The ducklings and goslings are growing fast!