Spring 2017: Rebuilding the nesting tube

Quakie and Frankie (?) relaxing at the pond

It’s great to see that Quakie is surviving so well in the wild. In fact she’s looking pretty good this year. Last year when she returned in spring, she looked rather bleached, for want of a better description. Her feathers and her bill had turned so faded and colourless, I hardly recognised her.

This year, she looks much more like the old Quakie. She has again  those unusual peachy coloured eyebrows and cheeks, and bright orange corners on her bill that clearly distinguished her from her siblings when they were growing up.

Assembled nesting tube – chicken wire, straw, cable ties, wood and nails.

We tried to find out how exactly diets of wild birds affect the colour of their plumage,  but it was hard to find any information or research papers written on the subject. I’m sure having good food helps, so either she’s learned from experience where to find food and/or Frankie has been doing a especially good job looking after her!

She has developed very strong wild instincts and while she obviously still recognises us, she is not very friendly and we can’t go near her or Frankie at the moment.

Underside of nesting tube construction: a T-joint allows the nesting tube to be mounted on a pole.

Hopefully that changes with time and she will start warming up to us again. The both of them look exhausted and have been napping on the pond deck all day the last 2 days, only waking up to take short baths and to eat. We have been putting out duck chow for them. Who knows how far they flew to return from their wintering grounds? A long flight on a plane already tires me out even when I don’t have to flap my wings the entire way!

We started assembling the duck nesting tube today, and will put it up soon. We may have to wait till Quakie and her partner take a day trip away from our yard, since it will be very noisy when we hammer the metal pole of the nesting tube stand in the ground.

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