Our One Year Pond Study Week 14: Bird Study – Mallards

Our pond this week
Our pond this week

Welcome to week 14 of our one year pond study.  For the rest of the posts in this series please see here.

This week the children did a study on the Mallard duck.  They read through all our past nature study posts.  I asked them to tell me all they had learnt  about the Mallard duck simply through observation.  This was their answer, with a selection of pictures from the posts.

The Mallard duck lives anywhere there is water such as village ponds:

Our beautiful pond

The male mallard looks very different from the female, with a green head, white collar and yellow beak:

This male Mallard was pecking distance from my feet.  Look at those colours.  Stunning!

Whereas the female is pretty much brown all over:

And his mate

They are sociable and live in large groups:

We saw Mallard ducks...

They fight for their females:

These two males fought...+

It is during these fights that the male mallards can get hurt:

Can you see the injury just above his leg?

If hurt they will tend to their own wounds and are so hardy they heal readily:

After much preening and cleaning of his wound...

Eventually they all pair off:

Mallard ducks: business as usual for them!Make their nests:
It was empty and with no birds nearby we wondered who it belonged to.And lay eggs to hatch baby ducks:

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They scavenge on land for food, feeding on grains and plants:

The ducks were pecking around

And dabble for invertebrates, fish, amphibians, and a variety of plants in the water.  Sometimes fully emersing their heads to pull at the plants:
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They sleep with their head in their feathers:

Maybe he'd been left on the shelf, as far as finding a girl duck

They are very vocal birds:

Out enjoying the sunshine

and they groom themselves with their beak….

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With their legs….
DSC_0191 With the surrounding water…
DSC_0169Before flapping their wings to remove the excess water and realign their feathers:
DSC_0077They are also one of the only ducks which are able to take to flight without any running on the water or on the ground.  They literally just take off:
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I was genuinely surprised by how much they had taken in without ever reading a book about the Mallard duck.  For me this is homeschooling at it’s very best.  The children simply observed the nature whilst amongst it.  Nature told its own story far more successfully than any book could.

Science SundayCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

10 comments

  1. I just love your pond study. I keep wondering if I could pull that off with our girls – but wonder if we’d have the time – or I guess I should say commitment from the whole family to make the time! It’s just wonderful how much can be learned just from being present and observing nature, and certainly increases our motivation to protect it. At any rate, every week I read your posts, I am more strongly convinced that we should do it, if not as in depth.

  2. I love mallards. A few blocks from here, there’s a woman who feeds them all twice a day. They all cross from the river to her lawn – using the crosswalk!- at 9 am and 5 pm, every day, and all the drivers and buses stop for them. It’s been a great source of entertainment for us for the last 5 years.

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