Michelle, Old Post Office | June 18, 2021
The Old Post Office has been a busy place this spring! We often get to see new families of ducks and geese cruising the Grand River, but this year we are even more up close and personal with the local wildlife. Earlier this spring, a Canada Goose nested and laid her eggs on the green roof next to the terrace at the OPO and we set up a camera so that we could all watch the goslings hatch. On May 18, 2021, the 3 goslings jumped safely to the river below.
But it seems the waterfowl fun was not finished at the OPO! We discovered another nest on the green roof. This time, a family of ducks moved in and laid their eggs! Once again, we set up a camera so everybody could watch the ducks with us. The incubation period for mallards is 23-30 days so we expected the eggs to hatch between June 9 and 18.
The ducks were right on schedule and on the morning of June 14, 2021, 7 ducklings hatched and safely made their way to the river. They moved so quickly from the rooftop to the water that we weren't even able to catch a photo of them traveling down the Grand River for the first time.
Keep your eyes peeled this summer for a family of 7 ducklings! They could be the duck family from our live rooftop.
Male mallard ducks are easy to spot with emerald green feathers on their heads. The females are less brightly adorned and are usually a mottled brown in appearance, making it easier to camouflage with foliage when nesting. When a female is nesting, she will not eat for the entire egg incubation period of almost a month! She does this by putting on lots of weight beforehand so she will have enough energy to look after her eggs.
Mallards are called 'dabbling' ducks because instead of diving, they eat by tipping underwater to get their food, sticking their tails and feet in the air. Mallard ducks have a wide variety of food sources, from water insects and grubs to even plants like barley! Many ducks enjoy eating food given to them by humans, but be careful what you feed to ducks - bread can upset their stomachs and cause digestive issues.
Spring migration is happening now, so it’s a great time to borrow a pair of our binoculars, a field guide, and go birding at a local green space. Check out the Idea Exchange library catalogue to find more information about our feathery friends! Grumpy Duck by Joyce Dunbar and Duck, Duck, Moose! by Mary Sullivan are sure to quack you up.
There's always more to learn about our common feathered friends! Build your birding skills with Leslie Scott's Wetland birds of North America : a guide to observation, understanding and conservation and Kanopy documentaries such as Waterbirds, Shorebirds and Game Birds, and Using Bird Behaviour To Identify Birds.
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