Matilda | Almost Duckling Time!
I'm sorry there haven't been any updates. Between Little League, work, Pre-K/Kindergarten graduations, and sickness - life has been a bit hectic!
So Matilda managed to sneak yet ANOTHER egg past me. She has ELEVEN eggs in her clutch. Also, for the last two weeks or so, she has had a few visitors while she has been guarding her nest. After today's activities, I knew I needed to take the time to upload some videos. There were 3 male Mallard ducks escorting Matilda to her nest this morning. It was quite adorable watching them waddle across the yard and then follow her around as she was looking for things to eat.
While Matilda would hang out on her eggs, the males would mosey over to her to sit with her with lots of "talking" amongst themselves. There was a few times that one of the males even hovered over the nest while gently pushing the down feathers closer to the eggs. It's super fascinating to watch their behavior!
So Today's Google Check:
Are the eggs all fertilized by the same male duck?
So for waterfowl, there is evidence of ducks having "life mates" for the purpose of reproducing, companionship, etc. BUT there is a phenomenon called "extrapair copulations" or EPCs. Meaning that while a mating bond may be established with one male duck, a female may solicit EPCs in order to have higher quality fathers for their offspring. As a result, a clutch likely has offspring that may come from several different males.
Matilda!?! You hussy you.
Here's a compilation of the activities from this morning's visit from Matilda and her mates!