May 6, 2010

Mating Season

The wild mallards that live seasonally in the wetland behind my house have returned and the mating games have begun. The other evening I heard some very loud quacking in the front yard and when I looked out nearly had a full-blown cardiac event as I mistakenly thought the wild female mallard was my own fat rouen girl, Emily Claire, and I frantically wondered how she had escaped from the barn (gimme a break okay? Her markings look exactly like a female mallard and it was getting dark). After a brief moment where I visualized Emily's horrific death under the tires of a speeding car, I calmed down when I saw that it was not only Miss Mallard out there, but a suitor as well. No, make that two suitors: one happy to have been chosen and one slightly less amused.

David and I spent the next half hour or so watching the three of them parading around the back yard: the chubby female with her proud new boyfriend close by her side and the rather agitated male who had been rejected, though still doing his best to win over the girl. The little female was shrieking at the top her lungs and heavily engaged in that odd little head-bobbing thing that female ducks do to express their dominance in a situation, or what we like to call the "Disco Dominance Dance" because you can set it perfectly to any Bee Gees song from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, and her mate was chattering away in that raspy little whisper that male ducks have in lieu of a real voice. The odd man out was not about to give up without a fight and that's exactly what happened. Feathers briefly flew and then for the moment he dropped his fight for the mallard girl when he saw our two silver Indian Runner females watching the shenanigans from the safety of the duck run. Clearly, the sight of two long, lean platinum blondes trumped the chubby, mouthy gal before him and he instantly veered off to get a closer look at Francine Edna and Lola Agnes. But alas, with the model slim beauties safely behind hardware cloth, he soon gave up and went back to the fat one with the bad attitude.

In the end, the pair went off to the wetland where they have since made their home and nest, the third male flew off to hopefully find himself a mate elsewhere and David was left feeling very bad for the little boy with no one to love.

Photo courtesy of mike.pointon on flickr.

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