Three weeks ago a pair of mallards showed up at a neighbor’s in-ground swimming pool.  From time to time they were spotted in nearby yards and we were shown pictures and asked about them.  Three days ago Nancy found the female in our front flower garden.  She was perched under some hellebores, clearly sitting on a nest.  Neighbors came to see her and the pool owners told us that the ducks had not been seen at their pool in about a week.  Sometime between 5 and 6 pm the first day, the neighbors and Nancy saw that the female was gone.  Looking at the nest it appeared all dark and abandoned.  However, when I touched the nest the black down feathers, which were providing excellent camouflage in the absence of the female, parted and I could see 6 eggs in just one half of the nest.  I put the down feathers back and the female continues her routine.  She departs for areas unknown between 5 and 6 pm and returns around 8 pm to spend the next 21-22 hrs on the nest.

What happens when the eggs hatch is the big unknown as the only available water is the neighbors swimming pool and it is behind a tall fence.  Further, there is no food for the chicks in that pool even if they could get there.  This is not even considering the dogs and cats that occasionally run loose in our very urban area.

John Solodar - University City, MO

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