Appreciating maternal instincts in nature

It wasn’t until I had nearly stepped on her that the hen mallard flew out from the grass underfoot. The space she vacated contained her nest, and in it were several white eggs. I backed out and left her alone, letting my daughters know that our backyard pond would likely host some late ducklings in the next couple of days.

Two days ago, they hatched and while we’ve witnessed clutches of wood ducks and geese already, this was the first mallard hatching of the season for us. Watching that hen lead those fluffballs through the pond and hide them under herself while they rest is amazing whether you’re a kid or an adult.

We’ve also been on the lookout for fawns, which are starting to appear as they usually do this time of year. I’ve been lucky enough to witness some amazing things when it comes to does and fawns, with one particular experience having absolutely stuck with me.

While secreted away inside an edge of poplar trees watching an August hayfield for evening bucks, a fawn popped up in front of me. The youngster had let me walk past and sit within close proximity for more than an hour before she stood up. When she did I snapped a few photos and noticed that across the field a doe also was standing. Then another fawn trotted from the far corner to the doe and commenced nursing. The fawn in front of me also bolted and soon it was clear that they were a family unit.

What was so impressive about it is that all three of them stood up at exactly the same time, even though they weren’t anywhere near one another. Not only had that doe stashed her fawns in opposing corners of the field, she had also let them know it was time to stand up and feed. How she accomplished that, I can’t begin to understand.

It’s always something to see the way the ladies stand up and raise their young this time of year while the boys, for the most part, skip out on the duties. Having witnessed this for years, perhaps it’s no surprise that we refer to the wilds as “Mother Nature” and not “Father Nature.”

6/10/16Blog1 & 2

This hen mallard hatched a clutch of late ducklings in Peterson’s backyard pond recently. Her behavior, along with that of all of nature’s mothers, is something to behold and appreciate as we usher in new generations of game throughout the wilds this time of year.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Tony Peterson, Waterfowl

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