I lost count of how many times my husband or I have checked on our duck and her eggs during past couple of weeks. We have stopped by at different times of day in the hope that mommy duck would be away so we can check on the eggs. No such luck!
Well, the good news is that the eggs have not hatched yet since she is still incubating them. I have been reading up on the subject of ducks, egg laying and hatching and my knowledge of them has greatly improved. Here is a brief information:
“Males and females pair up in late fall. Nesting begins in early to mid Spring. Nests are usually made away from the ducks’ main body of water. The male and female will scout out the nest site together, looking for sites with low predator activity. Even though she can safely fly in and out of the nesting location, she does not anticipate that she’ll have to walk out once the ducklings hatch. Nests may be located close to busy streets or in enclosed courtyards. The female will return to the selected site to lay an egg each day, then return to the water to be with the male. Mallards lay between 8-12 eggs and muscovies lay between 12-18 eggs. The egg laying process last for an equal number of days. Once egg laying is complete, she will leave the male (who will wait at the water for her) and she will begin incubation. By waiting to incubate until egg-laying is complete, this ensures all the eggs hatch at the same time. At this stage the females will only leave the nest to quickly get food/water and briefly visit with the male, usually very early in the morning and late in the evening. She can be observed taking flight in the direction of her preferred body of water. In 24 to 28 days for mallards ( 28 to 32 days for muscovies ), all the eggs will hatch within a twenty-four hour period and the mother will lead her brood back to the water where her mate should be waiting. Returning to the male ensures protection for both the female and the ducklings. If an unattended nest is discovered and it has less than 8 eggs, it may be safe to assume that the female has not yet completed egg laying. She will only begin incubating the eggs once egg laying is complete.”
A lot of what I have observed makes sense now. We are often not curious about what immediately surrounds us. Even in an urban setting, we can find non-urban interests and beauty. Take the ducks for example. They live year around in my neck of the woods and I pass them by on daily basis while walking along the Hudson River walkway. I always liked seeing them and their little ducklings every spring; but never attempted to know more about them and their way of life. One chance incident and now- I google them! They are a constant topic of conversation between my husband and I. We re-route daily drives and/or walks t check on them. I actually go to sleep and wake up thinking about those eggs and hoping to catch them hatching for the first glimpse of the babes.
I will attempt to get up super early tomorrow or the next day for an opportunity to see the unguarded eggs. My biggest worry is to miss the hatching event while away next week on a trip. I need to assign the duty to someone. Anyone interested? Let me know.
Further Online Readings and Videos:
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