Shortly after moving to South Boston, or Southie as the natives call it, we found one of our favorite places to walk. It is a small harbor walk about a block from our house. It is a dock and grass park area next to the water and it is enclosed at one end making it perfect for walking the dogs, so we go there every day. The first contact we had there was with a small brood of about eight ducklings and their mother. The ducklings grew fast and before long the mother hen disappeared. As time passed they began to separate and move on until only a young hen and drake remained, Quinn named them Phil and Nancy. We started saving dried up bread to give to them when we would visit and as we throw it in the water we both let out loud quacking sounds. Phil and Nancy now come swimming fast as soon as they hear us and just the other day Nancy ate out of Quinn’s hand. He was so excited. Everyday Quinn would ask me so many questions about the ducks and it didn’t take long before my limited knowledge was exhausted. So on our last trip to the library Quinn checked out the book “Ducks” by Gail Gibbons and prepared the following report.
There are about one hundred and fifty types of ducks in the world. Phil and Nancy are Mallards. Ducks are part of the waterfowl family, they have webbed feet and waterproof feathers. They make their feathers waterproof with oil from their preen gland. Ducks are broken into two categories depending on how they eat, diving or dabbling. Diving ducks feed underwater and dabbling ducks feed near the surface. Phil and Nancy are dabbling ducks.
Ducks migrate to warm weather in the Winter and return to where they were born in the Spring to mate. The male duck, called the Drake, uses its colorful feathers and bill splashing to attract the female, called the Hen. The hen builds a nest from grass, moss, and feathers, and the drake protects it. The hen lays about ten eggs and sits on them for incubation. They hatch in about three or four weeks and the drake leaves. The brood of ducklings stays with the hen for protection. In only two months they will be ready to fly and in Winter they will migrate South like their parents.
The ducks life cycle is egg—–duckling——-adult——–egg.