Buffet for Mallards

water hyacinths

Water hyacinths in our pond before they were chomped on by mallards.

The picture on this page shows what the new water hyacinths we bought for our koi pond looked like a couple of weeks ago. These plants are supposed to multiply quickly and help to provide shade for the pond and fish, hindering the growth of string algae.

Unfortunately, we have visitors who leave behind half-chewed remnants of aquatic plants every morning as the only evidence of their visits. The water hyacinths were not spared. At first, only a few leaves were missing here and there. But within 2 weeks, every single one of the 20 plants  were damaged beyond redemption and had to be disposed of.

Springtime is when the Koi start becoming active again. However it can take a good long while before the water temperature gets warm enough that they actually start feeding again, meanwhile they eat, but only very slowly. We leave a little Koi food in the feeding ring overnight, and it is all gone in the morning. Now I am not so sure the Koi ate the food. I’m convinced some other creature(s) has/have been using our pond as a buffet bar.

Highly suspect are the mallard pair we have seen hanging around our pond occasionally in the springtime in the last couple of years. Were they the ones who also nested in our front yard? I think so.

We were sitting outdoors one fine spring evening at dusk, and we saw the culprits come flying in over the tree tops – the hen landed in the garden and the drake in the pond. They saw us, panicked and vamoosed. But I am pretty sure they came back once they were sure the coast was clear!

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