Friday, September 18, 2009

Muscovy Family

It's so sad when I see only one duckling left out of a clutch of 8-12. These two Muscovy's are fiercely protecting this little one. In this shot, they're running for cover beneath this Elderberry bush because three Red-shouldered Hawks are flying above them searching for food. I stayed around until the hawks left so they wouldn't grab the baby.

Nature is wonderful, but so cruel at times. I don't know how these birds grieve or even why they choose to have their clutches in a lake filled with 'gators and many hawks. Year after year I watch their broods disappear. It's no wonder their clutches are so large. That old cliche, "only the strong survive" must've come from the natural world. Sometimes I wish I could protect the little babies. At least I know that if I'm outside nothing will happen to them. The hawks and the 'gators take cover. Unfortunately, I can't be there all the time. On the other hand, the 'gators and the hawks have to eat, too. It must be tough being at the low end of the food chain.

If you've never encountered Muscovy ducks, you don't know how friendly and how gentle they are. Everytime they have a new clutch, they always bring them to our yards to "visit" and show off their young. They're so adorable.

Some of the people in my neighborhood complain because there are so many of them and they even tried to have an ordinance put in place to get rid of them and make it unlawful to offer them food. We don't live within city limits so our opinion will not be heard, but the ordinance didn't pass. I'm happy about that. They know they're safe in my yard and in my neighbors' yards.

Watching them communicate with one another is such a treat to me. Muscovies don't make very loud sounds. The males sort of blow wind through their mouth; I think it comes from their throats and wiggle their tails. The females have a very low whistling sound. When they're communicating with one another, they face each other wag their tails and bob their heads and necks. It's the cutest thing to watch.

Muscovy Ducks are always welcome in my yard.
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