Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ducks and Rain

The resident ducks have been talking about the great weather lately. While the human contingent complains of clouds and gloom, the ducks have been thriving in the backyard wetland paradise born of cool, rainy days.

The lawn is much more interesting when it's wet, as they probe with their broad beaks, perhaps filtering out choice bits of microflora and fauna.

They've voted their approval of a third, newly dug minipond, located in the "headwaters" of the backyard stream to catch runoff from the neighbor's yard. The dense clay keeps it filled for days, without a liner.

The mud at the edge of one of the older miniponds also appears to hold morsels of nutrition, unless they're just in to geophagy.

Though there may be some sophisticated filtering going on, their twin interests in mud and water make for a messier coop. It's necessary to change out the water in the coop more often than with chickens alone, as the ducks somehow manage to transfer dirt into the water tray.

At the same time, they spend considerable time keeping themselves clean. The beak that serves to explore mud also is used to toss water onto their backs as they bathe, at ease in their watery world bounded by Carex sedges and deertongue grass.

Note: How the ducks will affect our mosquito suppression techniques awaits to be seen. In the past, some combination of Mosquito Dunks and goldfish, along with natural predators like water striders, have kept mosquitoes from populating the ponds. The ducks' presence may affect the ability of water striders and goldfish to do their work. There's a lot of vigilance that comes with the pleasure of having a new creature feature in the backyard.

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