Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
A Wood Duck hen with eight very small ducklings appeared on our backyard pond a few days ago. The following day that family plus a hen with six ducklings, same size, appeared. We saw both families on the pond at the same time. The next day we watched a hen with five ducklings. We assume one of the Family of Six went missing. The day after that, four ducklings. Yesterday, we were down to three, two days later only two left, attrition on the move. In the meantime, the Family of Eight grew to nine, the newcomer matching the size of the other ducklings. No idea where the extra bird came from. Perhaps it left the original Family of Six to join the smaller group. Whatever. Then, eight ducklings without a hen, the ninth duckling not present. This set of ducklings tried to join the Family of Three, but that hen aggressively hissed them away. Today, Friday, the Family of Two out of the pond to search for sunflower seeds beneath our feeders. No sign of the other ducklings. In the middle of this coming and going appeared yet another Wood Duck hen, this one with 16 ducklings about three-quarters her size. When they stood to stretch their wings we could see that they have yet to grow flight feathers. The photo shows the 16 ducklings all lined up for travel. The hen is near the middle.
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