Just hours before we were due to bring the abandoned ducklings to the wildlife rescue centre, Quakie and Frankie appeared in our garden. I noticed Quakie was alone – no ducklings were with her. This meant the worst had happened – she had lost all 5 ducklings that day – either to bad weather, predators or perhaps they had simply wandered off and she could not find them again. Such is the world mallard ducks live in; some mother ducks take years to gain enough experience so they can better discipline their young and keep them alive until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Hopefully, anyway. I don’t know if Quakie is smart enough to learn from her mistakes.
Although we knew it was unlikely we could get Quakie to take the babies she had left behind, since 2 days had already passed, we tried introducing the ducklings to their mom. Not too surprisingly, they did not recognise her. They had hatched in our home, never seen their real mom, and had “adopted” me as their main carer. They stayed near me, peeping, while Quakie looked on without making so much as a single effort to call them. She was much more interested in the duck food canister. I fed her and she ate heartily while the ducklings ran around behind her cheeping. They didn’t go near her, and when one duckling later jumped out of the pond it came to me rather than to her.