Earlier this spring, when I took the kids to school one morning we saw a male mallard duck in our yard. There are parks around us that have water and trees and perfect places where ducks could live. Our yard was not a place where I expected to find a duck!
We giggled about it on the way to school and Dawn snapped a picture. Fast forward about two week to the week after Easter. Matthew was out front on the sidewalk with two white eggs in his hand.
The kids have found a nest in the bushes out front with eggs in it. I scolded Matthew for picking up eggs from the nest. He had asked me if they were left over from egg hunting and that he didn't take them out of the nest but they were laying on the sidewalk in front of the nest.
I came out and looked and sure enough there was a nest with ten more eggs. There she was in the middle of the yard quacking at us. I told everyone to get away, put the eggs in the nest and let her get back to her babies. So that was the beginning. For three more weeks, we watched out for her on warm days in the 80's and rainy cold, and wet days in the 40's.
She would leave at about the time the kids were out of school and be back before bedtime after finding something to eat. She would cover the eggs with her down and we could not even tell there were eggs in the nest. She did a good job because at the end of those weeks one afternoon we saw her with ten babies in the front yard.
The mama duck took them around the house with eyes watching and following all the way. She ate some of the dropped bird food on the ground under our kitchen window bird feeder. On their way back she hopped over the downspout that was on the corner of our house. One by one eight of the babies followed her right over. Two of them however, had some trouble getting over. We stood at a distance watching and the two babies kept on trying to jump and couldn't get over.
Funny thing is, if they would have just taken a few steps to the left, they could have gone around. But they were following their mama. They just keep peeping and jumping, trying to get over. Soon, mama turned back and sat herself right on the other side of the spout with a low toned slow quack, letting them know that she was there. Eventually the one got over and then shortly after that, the last one was over and they were on their way.
Not a couple hours later I walked past the front door and looked out to see a big white pick up truck stopped in the road. To my horror, she had taken her babies to the road and had started to cross. Thankful that the truck had stopped. I watched as she turned sideways and started heading down the middle of the lane until a car coming from the other direction startled her back in the direction of the other side of the street. She backed up traffic four vehicles on one side and three on the other.
The man in the truck had his phone out and was taking pictures. She got the babies safely across and headed behind the houses on the way to the creek in the park. We would like to think they are living happily. I am sure that the very next day their mama taught them all to swim! We are sad they have left but we are happy we got to host mama and see the babies she so faithfully tended.