Spring 2017: Too fat to fly?

Quakie sitting in her nest – you can barely make out her head as she is well hidden!

Quakie had a rough day yesterday. It started off normally enough. As usual, she took a few  breaks during the day from her nest-sitting duties to eat and bathe and hang out with Frankie III.

After her last, long break in the evening – we though she was getting a bit careless! – she tried as usual to fly up to the Duck Tube from the ground, but kept missing the entrance and crashing back into the water.
Each time this happened, she would commence a vigorous, almost violent, bathing routine, as if to dissipate the built-up adrenalin.We at first assumed our presence made her nervous and went back indoors, but some 15 minutes later when we took a peek, she was still not back in her nest.

On the floating plant island: Quakie takes a well-deserved break from her nest-sitting duties.

This was the first time we noticed her having such a problem. Had she eaten too much the last few days? Perhaps she was too heavy for tricky flight manoeuvres?

After numerous tries over a period of about half an hour, she looked exhausted and seemed to give up. She simply floated in the pond next to Frankie, who seemed very calm for the situation. We decided perhaps the ledge was too small for her to land on. I made a makeshift extension using a folded up cardboard box, packing tape and some rope to secure it to the actual ledge, hoping it would help her get into the nest more easily.

It can be tricky to fly up to the nest opening from the ground. One needs to execute a 90 deg turn in mid air!

The ledge was still shallow, but now it was longer sideways. Quakie however made no further attempts, and remained in the pond for the rest of the evening.

After one last check on them around midnight, we left the ducks to their own devices and went to bed. The next morning, Quakie was sitting on her eggs again and everything seems well. We hope so anyway!

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