I’ve been on baby watch.

Just like the Brits that awaited the newest Royal, who finally made his debut this morning, I’ve been on baby watch too, and what better time to write about it then during Mother’s Day week.

As you know, while walking at Council Point Park, I’ve been scoping out hidey holes for goslings, peering around reeds for ducklings and glancing up at tree branches for Mama Robins sitting on nests.  Even in the neighborhoods, there are no egg-filled nests that will soon house hatchlings.   Alas, no luck at glimpsing any of these fine-feathered friends’ offspring so far this Spring.

But … not to worry, as I have another venue to scout for babies – that is at Dingell Park down in Ecorse.  Mike, one of the walkers at Council Point Park, told me last year that Mama Mute Swans like to swim with their cygnets in the cove that is just off the pavilion area at this park.  Mike is retired and passes the time after walking by chitchatting every morning with the fishermen at Dingell Park.  These anglers often stop at the café across from the pavilion for breakfast, then bring baked goods to toss out to the waterfowl.  Nope, not the seagulls, but a Mama Mallard Duck who builds a nest in a planters box in the pavilion area every year.  People bring Mama Duck treats so she does not need to leave the nest unattended and can incubate those eggs full time.  One morning, just like this little chick pictured above, those babies will hatch and a stream of ducklings will hop to the ground, waddle across the pavilion, then plop right into the water.   I wish I could be there to see that cute parade, don’t you?

So yesterday, I went to Dingell Park looking for Mama Duck.  Mike told me the story about her last year, but the eggs had already hatched and all that remained was an empty nest with feathers and broken shells by the time I stopped by.  This was because we had nine rainy weekends in a row, so getting to Dingell Park was dicey. This year I aimed to do better. 

I saw Mama Mallard Duck and I spoke to her softly so I could approach and take some photos.  I didn’t want to scare her by getting too close, so the pictures aren’t great.  I took them from two angles. 

I should have brought a treat for her, despite this brand-new sign I saw in the parking lot. 

Visitors to Dingell Park, including the fishermen, will continue to feed the ducks, swans and geese that converge at the pavilion for handouts – it is the seagulls that are problematic.  They invite themselves to every food fest.

Here is where the planter is located – the parking lot is on one side, and a scenic view of the cove area and Mud Island on the other side, so it is a somewhat secluded spot for the mallard nursery.

At a glance, you can barely see Mama as she is hunkered down amongst the plants in the cement planter.  I’ll keep checking for ducklings, as well as swans and their babies which ride along on Mama’s back and of course I’ll share those photos if I’m lucky enough to witness this wonder of nature.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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38 Responses to I’ve been on baby watch.

  1. Most parks I’ve ever been to had “do not feed the animals” signs up. People still do it, but I wonder if the park people want to avoid attracting rodents and other undesirable critters? I hope the ducklings hatch soon. They are fun to watch!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      When I went on the two interpretative walks one morning at Lake Erie Metropark, I mentioned the squirrels at Council Point Park and the guide said “oh, you shouldn’t do that – if you feed them every day and then don’t show up, they may attack the next person who resembles you, thinking it is you!” They forbid feeding any critters – especially the deer. Apparently some folks were bringing a couple of pails of corn and dumping them inside the main road and the deer came over to eat it and they worried they would forget how to forage on their own. I think a couple of pails with corn would not satisfy more than a couple of deer though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Squirrels can get very aggressive. I’ve watched them here get mad when I put out peanuts years ago. Now I discourage them by making it difficult to get to the feeders. I do think it’s not ideal to get wild animals too used to us humans. But as we keep encroaching more and more on their natural habitats, it must be harder for them to survive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree with you that foraging is becoming more difficult for them, plus the changes to our climate. The Park squirrels began hiding peanuts when we had a chilly spell last August. I watched them and thought to myself “they’ve never started that early before” … I’ve been walking there since 2013. Knowing how smart squirrels are, I can’t imagine that they forgot where they buried those peanuts, so I am convinced that they will leave them there as a reserve. They couldn’t access them all Winter as the ground was too frozen. I say this as I’ve watched them burying peanut this Spring, just a few days ago. That is not the norm.
        They feast in Spring and Summer, hide peanuts in the Fall. We have a cold Spring – today was just in the 40s. I think they are confused about the seasons. I have not mentioned this in a post, and will address it at some time, but two or three weeks ago I stopped feeding the porch pals. Twice the larger fox squirrels (two of them) were taking all the peanuts, and the smaller squirrels could not get at them. When the small ones tried to snatch a peanut, the bigger squirrels chased them off the porch. It happened a few times, one time Grady was chased into the street, and barely missed the wheels of a car. I ceased it immediately and won’t go back to it. It’s a shame and the birds lose out too, but I didn’t want to go outside and see that Grady was injured or killed trying to get peanuts. If I see the smaller squirrels on the street, I usually always have peanuts with me and I’ll feed them. Like humans, there is one in every crowd!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been finding peanuts buried in the garden beds. I guess the squirrels must be getting them somewhere and bury them here, but they’re not retrieving them. The weather is crazy, it’s actually quite warm here today and I am going to have to do some watering already.
        I am sorry that your porch pals are not getting their fair share of peanuts. I’d do what you do, stop and sneak one to the right critter when the bullies are away. Too bad!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I shouldn’t smile at them burying the peanuts in your garden beds – obviously they find your yard to be a safe haven. Squirrels are smart. That’s early for watering. I don’t usually take the hose out and put the water on until Memorial Day. We had 40s today – I’d be worried it would go below freezing. I shut the water off and put the hose in the garage the end of September as we were having a hard freeze one night. Yes, I felt badly about the porch pals – I’ll sneak a treat to the right critters.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The peanuts don’t bother me, some even sprout into plants! I just always assumed that squirrels would come back to the hiding places. It is early for watering! I’ve got to figure out how to reprogram the sprinklers, then I don’t have to think about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You have lots of garden beds – lots of hidey holes for them to stash peanuts. Ah, lucky you with the sprinklers, though I have such a small property it is pretty easy to water the entire front in minimal time, and same for the back. My roses look dead as a door nail, but this happened after the Polar Vortex a few years ago as well and I was able to bring them back. I don’t know about this time – we got to minus 45 degrees windchill and a very low air temp this past Winter. Even my lilacs have no buds, but they are starting to leaf out. The weather is crazy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hopefully all your plants bounce back after all the winter woes! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joni says:

    I would love to see the baby swans riding on the mama’s back – was unaware of that? I wonder why the nurseries are all bare, is it because of the late spring? Congratulations to Harry and Meaghan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      When I still planted annuals, I always went the week before Mother’s Day as they had the best selection. Then it was a pain as you’d have to cover them until you could plant them. I used to plant all the planters and hanging baskets back then so had to put flats in/out of the garage before work and then after work to get some sunshine to help them. Then I started buying pre-planted hanging baskets while still working –
      now no hanging baskets. But they always had a good selection for folks that bought their moms flowers – that seemed to be the experience here anyway. I’ve seen pictures of the baby swans lined up on the mom’s back and it is very sweet. Mike says he saw it in the cove, but chances of seeing them on a weekend are slim to none – if I could get to other venues with more swans that would be great, but it has to be on a weekend, and everything is swampy and flooded right now. Harry looked so excited and happy when he gave the announcement – I saw it online … he was grinning ear to ear. His mom would have been happy and proud.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Oh I can relate to that. That’s why I just stuck the lettuce in the ground yesterday, I won’t remember to take it in and out and water it, so it might as well take it’s chances outside. I used to buy all my hanging baskets, then when I retired I started making my own, now it’s a mixture of both. If I see some nice ones at a good price I buy., but I find the price keeps going up, and I’m not willing to spend as much on them. I looked up my invoice for the house cleaning of the siding (mildew), decks and patio furniture and it was $700….would I pay that now that I’m not working. NO. When the guy was here doing the estimate, I told him I couldn’t afford that now, and the best he could come up with was $200 for the back side of the house (it’s only siding on the top, the rest is brick), and $150 for the deck, plus tax. Even that is enough. He told me minimum wage went up, well $700 works out to 40 hours, he could spent a week here, but it usually it takes a couple of guys at most 3 hours??? It would be cheaper for me to buy a pressure washer, if it wasn’t for the height I would. I honestly thought I had paid $400 for all of it last time, I had thought I had renegotiated the quote with his dad, but now the son has taken over the business. Price gouging at it’s finest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        We split all expenses and used to put money away for the annuals and any treatments for bushes, plants/roses, dirt and mulch if it needed topping off. It was never enough and had to be supplemented – flowers are expensive. They have a local plant exchange here every Spring and Fall. I don’t have anything to offer so have not gone. I did not ask Jim how much that same cleaning would be when he suggested it last Fall. He said it is a two-part job, with a bleach process and he had to get special equipment for it. There is mold there and that is no thanks to all the rain we are having and does not get time to dry and no sunshine to dry it properly. It does make you get fed up to be honest. I used to wash down the siding every year with a soap made specially for that (Windex made it,) and the sprayer attached to a hose, but looked for it now to send you – don’t see it) but I skipped it the last two years as we had so many torrential rainstorms. But I never cleaned the bricks, just the siding – he said the bricks have mold or mildew on them. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        A mixture of vinegar and water will take mold off. I use that on the deck sometimes if it is a small area, and my neighbour said he used to spray it on his siding with his weed sprayer can, to prevent mold. I’ve never heard of mold on bricks, although I had some on one side of my chimney one year, when the pipe for the air conditioner outlet broke and the water was cascading down the side, but I just left it, and while it is discoloured a bit, it eventually dried out. I wonder if vinegar would hurt the brick though as it is acidic? Something to google maybe?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thanks for this info Joni – I never think of vinegar and water and I know it is pure and shouldn’t damage anything but I will Google as you suggest. Also Simple Green – I used to use it for cleaning out the birdbaths when I had them. It got rid of the red algae scum that forms almost daily and it is sweet smelling and never hurt the birds and very concentrate so a gallon goes a long way. The weather is messing up more than our walks as it is wreaking havoc with our homes as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. susieshy45 says:

    Linda,
    I look forward to the day, parks will say” Feed the ducks” or ” Go ahead and feed anyone who looks starved” or ” feed a smile to a sad face”. I mean just when one thinks one has a good thing going with a bird or an animal, along comes a Scrooge with a notice saying” don’t do that”.
    The cute duck looks good. The mama duck looks harassed- is she exposed to the elements come rain or sun? Poor thing ! How long does she have to incubate her eggs, Linda?
    I am glad things are looking up at your end.
    Thanks for these gorgeous pictures.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindasschaub says:

    Hmm – my comment flew into cyberspace for some reason Susie – how annoying, so I’ll try again. Anyway, what I said was that I suspect parks worry about rats, but more about seagulls as they swoop down as soon as they see anyone feeding the ducks, swans or geese, mostly the ducks at the river’s edge. My parents used to take me in my stroller in High Park in Toronto to feed the ducks … I used to love doing that, we’d go on Sundays in nice weather. I think the Mama Duck was scared of me, but I stood back a good 6 feet and talked softly to her, took the photos fast and then left – probably “in her space” no more than one minute tops . She is like the expression “a sitting duck” but she was very hunkered down, almost flattened out, over the nest. If I did not know she was sitting on a nest and had walked by, I would have thought she was dead to be honest with you. She is protected by the pavilion metal roof and by the plants which are out.and around her, so they will be a buffer to the wind. She is sitting pretty! I looked as I did not know the incubation period and it is below … now I know too. It is a torrential rain out there right now – this weather is amazing.
    About 28 days after beginning incubation the eggs hatch together. This takes about 24 hours. The ducklings stay in the nest for at least 10 hours while they dry and get used to using their legs. Then, usually in the early morning, the female leads them to water.

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  5. Ally Bean says:

    I like your photos of the mama duck who looks slightly perturbed with you, but not enough to do anything about it. I got a chuckle out of your assessment of seagulls being troublesome: “They invite themselves to every food fest.” Ain’t it the truth!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked the photos Ally. If I had not known she was there, it would have startled me. I was there a minute at the most and hesitated to get closer than about six feet – she does look a little wary! I hope my voice was soothing. The seagulls at Bishop Park hang out there as the fisherman toss them food all the time and they have a grilling area in the park. The seagulls swoop down and have been known to grab a hot dog off the grill.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Shelley says:

    Aw, such anticipation! I’m always amazed at where the birds decide to build nests. That seems safe off of the ground, but so close to a walkway of the humans! Very interesting indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am amazed as well, but I understand she has built there before several times. The nest is protected by the pavilion roof but there will be people there, especially on weekends. Perhaps they ought to put a barrier around it so people don’t mess with her or the eggs until they hatch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        Aw, I could just see a little kid messing with the eggs just because they’re curious. I hope the eggs survive. It’ll be fun to see your pictures!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ll look forward to your writing more about the new babies. We have song sparrows nesting beside the porch where we eat. They are sometimes annoyed with us at mealtime, but we aren’t out there for every meal yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ducks laid eggs and now have babies in my sister-in-law’s backyard. She has two large dogs and is not sure what to do. Most are telling her that ducks are smart and know what they are doing. I hope that that is right (for the ducklings’ sake). I told her that the very young dog definitely needs to be on a leash until the ducks leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I agree with you Tom. Someone asked me how long the duck eggs incubate and I Googled to find out (28 days) and the info post-hatching was that the mother will let the ducklings have a day to get dried thoroughly and “find their legs”, then they’ll hop out of the nest and she’ll lead them to the water, usually in the dark. I hope these ducklings do well too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. She is so smart, wouldn’t we all love to have our food brought to us in bed!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. if someone brought me food while in bed I sure wouldn’t be getting out of it! I wonder if she has the cafe on speed dial?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha – she has it pretty easy there. I was talking to Mike at the Park this morning. He saw me and walked over to tell me where to go to find the goslings as he knew I was looking for them, especially as we near Mother’s Day. I always try to include some pics for a post. I told him I went to see the Mama Mallard on Sunday and he told me he checks on her daily. Yesterday, she was waddling across the pavilion floor and he thought maybe the ducklings hatched, and walked over to the nest, but he saw 8 eggs. She must have been stretching her legs or walking toward the parking lot to the cafe to get the treats herself.

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  11. Mackenzie says:

    Aww little Momma Mallard is almost camouflaged in that brush! You’ve got a good eye finding her and she seems to trust you! What a beautiful day !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes she has a good place to hide and it is under a covered pavilion area, so all the better, plus people dropping off part of their breakfast to her – all she needs is coffee now! I would like to be there when all the ducklings hatch and follow her to the River, just a few yards away.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh what a lovely way to celebrate mother’s day by finding the feathered mother kind ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, and I was talking to Mike this morning and forgot to ask if the eggs have hatched. He goes down to the River every day. He saw me and pointed out where a heron was and I totally forgot. Those babies may already swimming around the Detroit River!

      Like

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