Blogs by Shirley Ann Parker
Mallards at a business park?
4/30/2006 8:24:09 PM
More stunning to learn was that the bachelor mallards attack the young of females who have made them angry by rejecting their advances.
I'm posting this here also, because Shirley's Corner Desk at my website has major problems again, apparently due to the conflict between the host's software and Windows XP/IE. After working for a month, it is now "freaking out" yet again. Not exactly my idea of a professional image for my technical writing clients.
But outside of that irritation, I thought my other readers would enjoy a few comments from my "work environment." So, here we go:
I donít know all the facts about the wildlife visiting our large business park, but weíre surrounded by housing developments on three sides and an ďunusedĒ reservoir not too far from us on the other. Besides the small critturs that Iíve mentioned before, mallards come and go, with a little help from animal control now and then. (It may even be Fish & Game employees who come in, but from a distance, Iíve seen them with large nets attached to poles.) In addition to eight unattached male mallards, weíve had two pairs of mallards this year. Each had as many as a dozen ducklings hatch this season. The fluffy young ones are a delight to watch, paddling furiously around the ornamental pond in the center green area of the complex. The pond is well supplied with plants, mosquito fish, and other inhabitants, and has a pretty strong current in places.
A security officer commented to me one lunch hour that the young ones donít last long. We know there are predators at night, including coyotes, and probably feral cats. Animal control comes in, as needed, to move the survivors and the parents out to safer habitats. More stunning to learn was that the bachelor mallards attack the young of females who have made them angry by rejecting their advances. (Sounds a lot like the behavior of egotistical human males to me.) The mate will drive off any male that bothers his little family, as well as two-legged observors who get too close for comfort. One group of employees sitting at a nearby table was open-mouthed, when a rejected suitor paddled back, grabbed a duckling by the neck and held it under water, trying to drown it. The father of the duckling reacted furiously and drove the murderous-intent intruder away. Next day, some slightly older ducklings were present, three whose downy feathers had dropped out, allowing adult plumage to show. It looked as though the first mated pair had been moved back with their surviving youngsters, or had found their own way back!
Lifeís dramas go on all around us, and weíre usually totally unaware of them. Itís such a privilege to be an observor.
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