Spring “O“ Spring where are you. The calendar says just a few more days but it’s cold even with the sun shining. I know spring is close because the Mallards are chasing the hens and the ganders are getting close to their life time mate or finding a replacement for one that was lost. Maybe new romance for the younger set. The pond is full of activity, even saw a turtle head breathing for the 1st time after months buried in the mud.
The geese and the ducks on most sunny days have been taking baths and sunning themselves on the far bank of the pond. So before too long the ducks will be paired up and make a nest and the geese will settle down and pick a hidden nesting site and the egg laying will begin. The goose lays 4or5 eggs and incubates them for 25-30 days. The goose sets on the eggs while the gander stands guard. Ducks meanwhile lay up to 13 eggs and the female sets on the nest and the Drake leaves until fall when he will find a new mate.
Now for the sad part. All the duck eggs hatch within 24 hours and as soon as they are all dry momma takes them to water. Daddy has left and just mamma is taking care of the ducklings. Ducklings, as soon as they hatch and dry off can walk, swim, and forage for food. They have all hatched and mother duck takes them to the nearest water and in they go. Because she is a single mother the ducklings follow her single file where ever she goes. And now for the hungry snapping turtles the long awaited feast begins. It has been several months since the turtles have eaten and they go after the ducklings with a silent attack from below. One by one the ducklings disappear and unless the mother ducks takes them to the creek they will all become turtle food. . It is sad to watch the ducklings disappear but that is Mother Nature. I have watched a mother take 7 or 8 ducklings onto the pond and the next morning she only had 3 left. But, you know turtle have to eat too.
For the geese it is a different scenario in that there are 3 to 6 goslings and they also can walk and swim and forage for themselves as soon as they leave the nest. Very few goslings become turtle food because they are being raised by 2 parents and when the goose goes into the water the goslings follow and the gander follows behind. You will see this parade in the water and on land all summer long. The geese really take care of their babies.
It won’t be long until the tulips and other spring flowers bloom and we will forget about the ducklings and begin to enjoy all the sights and smells of spring. Enjoy!
Thanks for listening
The Crotchety Old Man
Edited and approved by Linda