Friday, June 15, 2012

The Phantom Feeder Mallard and Astoria Nest Fledglings! Atlas and Andromeda's Threesome Take the Leap!

I first saw the Phantom Feeder Mallard on 9/6, 6:43am.  Though he'd already been spied availing himself to bird seed by several of the neighbors.  

He seems somewhat human habituated as he's looking at me and hasn't taken to his wings yet.  Was he a farm duck who took off in the Spring looking for just the right hen?  

Or is he a duck who has availed himself of human largesse at a duck feeding area or other bird feeders?

Or is Duck not feeling his best and has been set upon by other ducks and forced off of his usual feeding area?  

No apparent injuries.
As I watched Feeder Duck, he made his way to the center of the yard and for not apparent reason other than it was time to go took off.

I'd never noticed before but when a mallard jumps up into flight his feather pattern becomes the face of a large mammal.  Had you?

Then Mallard not only appeared in the morning he began to appear towards evening as well to "share" the feeder seeds with the rabbits.  

Actually he and one of the does spent their feeder time making unexpected jumps at each other attempting to drive the other off.  (Their interaction on video which blogger doesn't want to accept.)
In the meantime, Mallard began to investigate the yard and it's surroundings fully aware that I was watching.
He waddled over and checked out the open door to the garage.  

One of the ex-farmers in the neighbor group told me that if Duck had gone in  the door we'd have known he was a farm duck.  No such luck.

Maybe he's thirsty?  Having no wash tub or kiddie pool, I went in, grabbed a sheet cake pan, went out while he watched and filled it with the hose. He watched. Then I went and got a bunch of seed and visibly sprinkled it next to the pan.

Now what would he do?
 Well,  he strode over, had a nice long drink and started in on the seed.  Then he laid down and ate.  Is he okay?

7:33 PM Now Night Mallard, comfortable next to his sheet cake pan of water, takes another bill full of bird seed from the mound now and again.
 And just sits there.  Night Mallard has become somewhat of a celebrity, and the neighbors are fascinated.

6/10-7:51PM,  Still resting.  Though I and the neighbors were all watching, when we compared notes, Night Mallard had skedaddled to somewhere else without anyone seeing where he'd gone.

 When I looked again at 1:40AM, Night Mallard's place had been taken by a couple of young cotton-tail rabbits.

Then he missed a day.  Oh dear.  Hope Phantom Night Mallard is alright.

 6/12 Ta da!!  I came across the yard from the garden and guess who was watching me from the other side of the clothesline.  

The Phantom Mallard strikes again. 

As per what he was waiting for,  I went into the house to get a big container of bird seed and when I looked out Phantom Mallard had made his way over to the cake pan for a long drink of water.  I went out as he watched and dumped a big mound of seed under the feeder and went back in the house.

Duck and I are doing a "dance" to find the boundaries of what is acceptable to each other in the way of behavior.  So far he is pretty much calling the shots as to acceptability.
 7:53PM  No dumb duck, he then proceeded to the mound of seed, made himself comfortable and dug in.
 I then went out the front door, and around the house to the back hoping for a better photo.  Phantom Night Duck gave me a look, I took the shot, and retraced my steps.

My , my, what might tomorrow bring?

And now back to our beloved Red-tailed Hawks --from Jules Corkery chief watcher of the Astoria Nest of Andromeda and Atlas--

 So the last two babies are off the nest. The larger one is high up in a tree(the tree is pretty scrappy and not a lot of leafy coverage) in the quiet zone on Hoyt Ave North and 19th Street. The smaller one flew under the bridge behind the tennis court atop the hand ball court wall and is now exploring the ground under the bridge. Definitely maneuvering about pretty well.
I saw him poop so that's a good sign.
The wind is picking up - hopefully they find a nice place for the night... 

Little guy is practicing his hunting skills by stalking abandoned tennis balls! Too cute!
And from photographer and hawkwatcher Peter Richter in response-
 Hey Jules,

I was just there taking pictures, must have just missed you. The 3rd eyas fledged while I was there but I didn't get to film it. They both look good and Andromeda fed the smaller one that fledged first while I was there. Bobby will release the first fledgling this Wednesday in the afternoon.



If you haven't checked in with the Franklin Institute Hawks lately, Robin of Illinois reminds us of the great photos and info on....