Backyard Mallards

Chirpings, June 2009
By Patti Muzny

Various and assorted circumstances have kept me from doing much birding, but as long as I can see and hear what goes on in and around our back yard, I can do a little “chirping.”

Eurasian Collared-Doves are now plentiful in SW Oklahoma City, and I enjoy their calls and squawks. The first time I heard their fussy in-flight call, it startled me and I had to track it down. Then I frequently heard them several times during the day. Our Bewick’s Wrens have raised one little family from one of our wren houses and it was entertaining to have the adults and young hopping around the deck and my plantings.

We are still spoiling the Mockingbirds and Wrens with cracked pecans and are thoroughly scolded when the supply of nuts and raisins dwindles away. Recently we have fallen under the spell of a pair of mallards.

For several weeks, the pair has been coming to our back yard, waddling around, then resting an hour or so before suddenly flying over the row of pecans at the end of our back yard. They usually come twice a day, but always in the evening. They appear together and walk toward the spot in the lawn where I put out a millet mix of seed. I head for the garage to get the seed, they waddle sideways a few feet and wait expectantly for me to dump their treat.

Before I get to the garage door, they are gobbling away. They eat, wander out away from the house and rest a while, wander back and eat a little more, do a little more resting, then fly away. For three days last week, only Ma Duck visited. We were crushed! I just knew Pa Duck had met an untimely end. Three days later, both came and life was once again good!

These very tame visitors are part of our wild family and we hope they thrive in good health for a very long time.