This morning, down on the hidden trail under the old Indian mound, I heard a kind of ha-ha-ha sound. It sounded like a woman laughing, demurely, as if she didn’t find anything particularly funny but was trying to be polite. When I looked down, I saw a female mallard in the water with about ten uber-cute, furball-stage ducklings in an egg-shaped clump behind her. “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” she said. Of course I thought she was trying to scare me away from her family.
But then her male companion chased her away from the ducklings, off the lake and onto the big mangle of tree roots between path and lake. Her little crew hid out in a little cove, naively covered by an overhanging black willow, while the male mallard chased the female and she ha-ha-haed back at him, louder and louder. Eventually she went around the willow the other way, back into the lake with her brood. But she didn’t look like she was going to welcome that male to swim with them any more.
Why would the father of the ducklings chase their mother away from them like that? I suppose he might just be looking for a little more nookie.
I don’t think he was the dad, though. I think their father is dead, and this male wants all the baby ducklings to die. Then the female will put out for him.