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Vulnerable Ducklings

6-20-18 woody & ducklings IMG_8636

There is a reason why ducklings remain with their mother for their first month or two of life. It takes 50-70 days before most ducklings can fly, and survival during this period is highly variable, ranging from less than 10 percent to as high as 70 percent. They are at their most vulnerable during this stage. The most common causes of duckling mortality include predation, adverse weather conditions, starvation, disease, and parasites. The mother offers her young a degree of protection from some of these factors while they are under her care.

Predation is arguably the greatest threat to young waterfowl. Ducklings are sought after by nearly every type of predator, including other birds (eagles, hawks, owls, herons, crows), fish (largemouth bass and northern pike), amphibians (bullfrogs), reptiles (snakes and snapping turtles), and mammals (foxes, raccoons, and mink).  Their odds for survival increase dramatically when the ducklings obtain the ability to fly.  (Photo: female Wood Duck and ducklings)

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7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    It’s a tough life, near the bottom of the food-chain.

    June 22, 2018 at 8:23 am

  2. Heidi Mack

    Hello Mary – I had to share this adorable video with you – of baby ducklings – taken this past weekend at Scobie Pond near Francestown…

    My daughter and her family were swimming at the pond when all of a sudden this duck just fell from the sky! After a minute or two, they realized that it was fledglings making their way out of their nest – from a hole in a very high tree. And before they could comprehend it all, out came another duck – plop. And then another. After each one would shake off the shock of that fall (thank goodness it was sand they were landing on!) – it quickly darted down to the pond through the maze of beach people and toys – where their impatient Mother was swimming in circles (like a water taxi waiting for its customer) – anxiously awaiting the successful leap, recovery, and beeline to the water of the entire brood. Just too cute. Nature is amazing.

    The video is a bit confusing and wobbly as it all happened so fast… but you get the gist. https://photos.app.goo.gl/DmccHD88Adg22JPL7

    Hope you are enjoying summer and all that buzzes, blooms, (oh and yes, bites! 🙂 Heidi Mack mack.heidi@gmail.com

    On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 7:34 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: ” There is a reason why ducklings remain with their > mother for their first month or two of life. It takes 50-70 days before > most ducklings can fly, and survival during this period is highly variable, > ranging from less than 10 percent to as high as 70 perc” >

    June 22, 2018 at 8:29 am

    • Heidi, this is PRICELESS. All my life I’ve wanted to witness wood ducklings launching themselves into the air…congratulations on whoever got it on film!

      June 22, 2018 at 8:56 am

    • Alice Pratt

      Those little feather balls are so daring!…I guess they have to be to get to the ‘water stage’ of their life.

      June 22, 2018 at 6:43 pm

  3. Ellen Halperin

    While camping on Umbagog Lake (NH) one summer, I watched and listened (to mama duck’s screams) in horror as a loon attacked her ducklings. The loon came from under water, grabbed the duckling, and dragged it back down.

    June 22, 2018 at 8:34 am

  4. Nancy Button

    Hi Mary! We were saddened last year to see ducklings on the ocean attacked and killed by seagulls!

    I have fond memories of the brief time we spent together a number of years ago with Jeffrey, Chiho and Nan Galland, and continue to enjoy your posts so much. I trust all is going well for you and your family, including your newest member.

    fondly, Nancy Button

    Fireside Pottery Nancy Button 1478 Camden Rd., Warren,ME 04864 nancyb@midcoast.com 207-273-3767 http://www.firesidepottery.com http://www.facebook.com/firesidepottery http://www.twitter.com/firesidepottery

    >

    June 22, 2018 at 8:50 pm

  5. Laura Stinnette

    rich

    On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 7:35 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: ” There is a reason why ducklings remain with their > mother for their first month or two of life. It takes 50-70 days before > most ducklings can fly, and survival during this period is highly variable, > ranging from less than 10 percent to as high as 70 perc” >

    June 23, 2018 at 8:16 am

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