This is a post I never expected, let alone imagined, to write. Well over a week ago, we started seeing a female mallard duck spending time together in our front yard, we have a clematis growing on a trellis on the east facing wall of our house and this duck was mostly seen hanging around that area and wandering to the neighbors. Knowing this is the peak of the nesting season, we suspected she had made a nest, likely under our neighbors’ thuja bushes (my bet), or our clematis (my wife’s bet).
Sure enough, she picked us! I have made sure not to approach the nest too close and took a picture from afar and was able to see about five eggs so far. I have read that they can lay anywhere up to thirteen eggs, so she is probably still not done laying and the fact that she leaves the nest for prolonged periods of time each day tell me that she has not started fully nesting yet. At that point, she will sit on the eggs for most of the day and only briefly leave to forage for food at the nearby river and field behind our back yard.
I would have never thought that a wild duck nest could be mere ten feet of our front door, where people walk by multiple times per day. I have read that ducks often come back to the same nesting location, so we may get ready to welcome her, or her kin, for years to come. What is also amazing that she picked our house as the most desirable spot. I am not sure whether to take that as a compliment or otherwise…
As any other migratory bird in the U.S., ducks are federally protected and their nests or eggs cannot be touched, so we will have to be extra careful in the next month or so, to not disturb or scare her away from the nest. Still, it warms one’s heart that defenseless wildlife picks your home as a haven. Not counting squirrels, which drive me nuts (pun intended!).
I will post a few more pics of other visitors we see nearly daily, like woodpeckers – we have 3 separate families living inside trees around or near our property.