24.01.2012 Individual ways

Youngsters out and about, family unit breaking up
 
I have not written about the noises and calls of the ducklings yet.
They are not noisy at all. They beep a little when they are very young. When they are older,
their call is a very low-volume "grrrr grrrr". This gets a bit louder as they grow up but you will
not hear the "quak quak" of common ducks.
 
Today I have heard new calls from the parents. They made a very long "zeeeeeek" or "zoooooook"
when they spotted an alien on the water. All ducklings lined up along the river bank and watched
the danger pass. It was a kayaker!
 
The family unit seems to be breaking up now. When I arrived, one duckling was waddling alone
on the bank opposite Peterborough Street. Near the other end of Park Terrace, close to the
Bealey/Deans Ave bridge, the mother duck lingered around with three female ducklings. When I
started feeding them, some more that had been nearby in the water arrived. After feeding and the 
traditional digestion swim, the mother disappeared after swimming and came flying in with some 
more ducklings who had been hanging out somewhere else.
 
I counted ten ducklings. But as the young are now out and about this does not mean that
number eleven has been killed.
 
The heads of the females are whitening up.
 
The males are wandering further away.
 
Smallie still has a way to go.
But the change compared to last week is not huge.
 
The chestnut colour of the females' breasts is getting beautiful.
 
Father duck needs a rest, too.
 
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