Mallard Family ValuesJuly 11, 2004


  One of the surprises of the Saddle Rock wetlands this year has been the mallard family. Males, incidentally, skip off and leave all the rearing to the females. Of course, that seems a strange set of family values to promote, but this is a mallard family with a difference.

Seeing a mom mallard with only one other duckling would be a cause for concern, but the ducklings can scatter across the water.

Mom mallard and a duckling
  Seeing a mom mallard trailed by three ducklings is somewhat more normal, although the previous year perhaps the same mom had a half-dozen ducklings.

Mom mallard followed by three
  The truth of the matter is that mom mallard, as shown below, has a fleet of eleven ducklings in tow.

Mom mallard and her 11 ducklings
  At first I wondered whether mom could have picked up an extra nest to raise, but in checking source books, I read that a female mallard can lay up to fifteen eggs. Considering the amount of work that mom mallard has on her wings, let's hope she has an easier family next year.

Photo note: The photos were taken with the Sony F707 digital camera, with its 1.7x multiplier.

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