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animal inhabitants & visitors to our gardens

Fred and Ethel the ducks - our pond visitors

 

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A pair of mallard ducks visited our pond for the first time in the spring of 2003.

We named our visiting ducks Fred and Ethel. We're not sure that those are their real names, they just seem to fit somehow.

At first, we were afraid that they would eat the fish or somehow cause damage to the pond. We've found out that they don't bother the fish at all and are actually good for eating some of the dying algae as it floats to the top of the water. By the time we put water plants in the water and the water lillies started growing, the ducks were gone, so we never found out if they would destroy or damage the plants.

Ethel made a beautiful nest in 2003 in the yard of a neighbor two houses from ours. Thirteen beautiful eggs! Unfortunately, she made her nest right by the neighbor's front door, which the human residents were totally not happy about. The neighbors destroyed the nest and the eggs.

We're hoping that Ethel selects a more appropriate location this year. We'd be happy to have her nest in our garden.

We don't know if this is the same pair of ducks that we had last year. We think that they might be because they're so unafraid of us. They will fly over our heads if we're by the pond and make splash landings right in front of us. If there are too many people around the pond and they feel insecure about landing, they will sit on the roof of the house and honk loudly to let us know that we should clear out and move away.

We've never fed the ducks while they were visiting. We're happy to just watch them swimming, napping, preening their feathers and having a good time.

The only drawback we've found in having our duck visitors is that they do tend to crap all over the place. But that's easily taken care of with a hose washing.

We hope that they continue to visit - just as long as they don't bring all their friends!

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recommended:
birdfeeders, shelters and baths
Birdfeeders, Shelters and Baths

hummingbird book
Stokes Hummingbird Book : The Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying, and Enjoying Hummingbirds

common birds of the midwest
Common Birds of North America (Midwest edition)

field guide to birds
National Geographic Field Guide To The Birds Of North America, 4th Edition

 

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