Laurel, avid animal lover that she is, can’t resist messing around with natural selection. Today she put up this sign at our nearby Spring Lake, warning people that a wild duck, or mallard, has chosen to lay her eggs in a highly public spot (maybe she’s an exhibitionist).
Before showing you the nest, I want to point out the professional quality of this sign. It’s good to know that, if all else fails, we can always open up a sign shop. Laurel contributed the printing, the UPS man brought us the cardboard, and I thought of the protective cling wrap. Result: a warning sign that will last for the ages, or at least until the next heavy rain.
Laurel also put up the stakes that mark the nest’s location. You can see that it is just a few feet from the rocky top of Spring Lake’s earthen dam, across which people, dogs, and horses frequently walk. The nest is barely visible midway between the stakes.
Here’s a close-up of the six eggs. I hope that the ducklings are able to hatch and waddle their way across the rocks and into the lake (probably quacking all the way, “Damn it, Mom! Why did you have to nest on the side of the rocks away from the water?! My feet hurt! When are we going to get there?! I need to go potty!)
Nature probably intends that ducks who don’t have the good sense to nest in a safe place shouldn’t have babies with the same genetic predisposition. But Laurel also is part of nature, and she’ll do her best to help out Mommy Mallard.
However, there is one mallard that neither of us would lift a finger for. We'd be joyous if this duck disappeared.