Friday, June 5, 2015
If Momma Ain't Happy... (or, Ducks in Trees 3)
It is not just me who thinks this little promontory is the choicest spot on the pond. I have seen many birds enjoying the view from the large oak, but none more than the Wood Ducks. If you look carefully, you can see a couple in this photo over on the right in the large oak tree.
There are seven Wood Ducks in this photo, two of which are partially hidden behind foliage. Am I the only one who gets weirded out to see ducks in trees?
Sometimes I see these little comedies while I am filming. This one started out simple enough. There was one female duck sitting on the branch. Then, a male flew in, but he wasn't her mate so her feathers got twisted over that. Once the female mates — and it may only be for the season — it has been my observation that they don't want any other male to get too near. She drove this guy up the branch. The lowered, outstretched neck and head are classic threat posture for many birds species. (See the Swan in "They Just Never Learn," from a couple days ago.)
Another male flew in and landed in the spot she had initially occupied while she was further up in the leafy foliage above him. Almost immediately, more ducks flew in also wanting to enjoy the view.
You can see the male which was already there is none too happy about the female getting ready to land next to him as he is giving her a piece of his mind.
Things went south from there. The female that had chased the first male up the branch now returned to scold the other three.
The male duck that was flying around in the last picture has made a big mistake and landed between the two ladies. (Head down also means butt up.) He is getting an ear full.
Now the two females dour attitude has spread to the two males on the right and they have become all agitated and argumentative.
And that is how a perfectly wonderful day disappears into the ether. Thus was born the saying, "If momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy."
Maybe it is obvious, but I would like to say that I don't have any special talent for seeing wildlife carry out their daily routine. I don't think there has ever been anything I have posted in this blog that didn't occur within just a few miles of home. With a pair of binoculars and a little patience, you can see similar amazing activity too. There are wonderful places to view wildlife all around this area, including many parks and reserves. Make a resolution to get out and see some for yourself.