Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Mitchell's drake returns to Sunnyside Farm

Early this spring we had birds hatching out of the incubator on a regular basis. One of those days the Mitchell family was visiting, and took 2 ducklings home with them. The ducklings grew and grew, withstood all the predators and developed into beautiful birds.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the night, something got the hen. She made a lot of noise (as did the drake) and woke up the entire Mitchell family. Searching for her was fruitless, she was gone.

An amazing thing about ducks: they really bond with each other. They move through the farm together, usually in a row behind each other. If they lose a member of their group, they all call until everyone is reunited. Here on the farm we can hear them, in sort of a duck version of the swimming game Marco Polo, calling and answering until reunited.

The Mitchell hen did not answer when the drake called for her, but that did not stop him from calling for her. Calling A LOT. The neighbors in the Belair-Edison area of Baltimore were understanding of the ducks when they made soft sounds to each other during daylight. But around the clock, loud, "where are you" duck sounds did not cut it.

So the Mitchell drake has been returned to Sunnyside Farm. He is a beautiful version of a Buff Duck, with lovely details and coloring. As with other male ducks, his tail has a tight curled feather at the end of it. His head is a little different than the rest of his body, and there is subtle striping along the wings and back feathers.

He tried to run with the gesse, but they said no way.

He tried to hang out with the older crowd of ducks, that includes his parents. His father is the other dark headed duck in the flock. The Mitchell drake is the biggest bird in the flock, and has the most gradients of color.
At the end of the day, the Mitchell Drake was with the 2 youngest ducks we have. These two were hatched the same way as he, in the incubator in the kitchen and are just a couple of weeks younger than he. The field is quiet, it appears he found a group to run with.

Cliques on the farm, who knew?!

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