Spring 2017: Quakie’s brood overdue?

Quakie sits patiently on her eggs.

The weather at this time of the year here can be pretty unpredictable. We had a spate of warm weather in March – it was like summertime!  Then April came, temperatures dropped and it was back to winter clothes for everyone.

Last week, the temps dropped below freezing for 2-3 nights in a row. Quakie’s food bowl, which had some water in it, froze solid and some of our shrubs in the garden had frost damage.  I don’t know if Quakie managed to keep her eggs warm enough – 18 eggs seems a bit too many for one small ducky to sit on all at once. She has been on the eggs for already 28 days, and they should be pipping if not already hatching, but we don’t see any sign of that happening yet. Perhaps the weather has simply just been too cold.

I took out and looked at a few of the eggs today when Quakie flew off during her short break. There are no signs of pipping, but I can clearly see the profile of the air sac in them, so they are definitely still developing though it may take a few days longer before they are ready. But she looks optimistic and seems to be in a good mood. I guess she knows what she is doing.

Quakie on her meal break.

Tipsy has been patiently waiting for Quakie to get done with the Duck Tube nest so she can use it too. She still won’t give up and nest somewhere else – I think she actually understands that Quakie’s eggs will hatch soon, and they will leave. She and Eddie come around  to hang out in the pond at night, and sometimes in the day too, if they don’t get chased off by Frankie III. Frankie comes by now and then during the day to guard the feeding area when she takes meal and bath breaks, but he’s not always there.

Sometimes the other duck couple try to sneak in using all kinds of comical tactics – landing unseen in a nearby field and then suddenly swooping into the pond from the shrubs behind the pond to scare Frankie off. Maybe they think if they can get him nervous enough all day long, he will just leave for good. Sometimes it’s Frankie who jumps in to take them by surprise. Occasionally, when none of the ducks are in the pond, I’d look up in the sky and see them zooming around overhead with Frankie hot on Eddie and Tipsy’s tails.  They must be very fit now with all that flying exercise!

H. goes out every night, usually after midnight and as late as 2am to see if Tipsy is in the pond. When she sees him she will swim towards him, hop out of the water and waddle over to him for food – very brave for a wild ducky. Night time is when there are lots of predators lurking around in the bushes and even Eddie stays in the water, scolding Tipsy.

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