Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MALLARD DUCK MOMENTS: Sex, Food, Lies & Snapping Turtles

Photos by Jonathan Schechter,  Bloomfield Township. Michigan   3/26/13

To the casual observer  mallard ducks are pairing off in preparation for spring breeding.
Not so!
Fact of the matter is  mallard ducks tended to pair off back in autumn but only now  are they 
establishing  their  nesting territory across all of Oakland County and much of the United States.
These ubiquitous duck are recognized by the smallest of children and their great grandparents and
rightfully so, for the wild mallard duck is the ancestor for almost all our domestic duck species.
The mallards in the photo (above) swam among a tangle of branches in a populous 
suburban area of Oakland County within 100 feet  of the roar of a highway. 
 But for them the living is good in a human dominated world.
The backwaters habit is rich with  secluded places to build a nest and the
edge of the cattail marsh provides shelter and food and other ducks.
And for the snapping turtles that lurk in the pond muck some ducklings will become dinner.
That is nature's way.
  And  then there is sex. 
According  to the ornithologists of Cornell University "Mallard pairs are generally monogamous,
 but  paired males pursue females other than their mates."
Duck behavior sounds a bit like human behavior?
"Generally monogamous" leaves much open for interpretation, for mallards and for man.
Is that too nature's way?


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