It must be toadally zorsting, trying to keep track of seven offspring when they’re all highly mobile and inquisitive, and lack any trace of common sense. I’ve chosen this image of Mummy Mallard with just two of the brood because it’s less chaotic than some of the others in the set – but really, chaotic would have been appropriate. They were all over the place: sometimes in front of her and sometimes behind, under decking, in and out of reeds, exploring the undersides of boats… Even if there weren’t Predatory Things around, looking to take advantage of a small fluffy meal, you’d have to think that the odds of her raising them all must be quite poor.
But let’s avert our eyes from the likelihood that some of them will perish – for today at least, they were adorably cute, and very amusing. If you’d like a bigger fix of cuteness, the full set of photos is here.
And on the subject of avian maternal care, I ran across a rather sweet story today, about a goose in Cincinnati which asked some police officers to help one of her goslings when it got into trouble. It’s horribly badly written, but a good tale nonetheless, and the video is worth watching.