margaret lauterbach wrote: > Saturday morning, Chuck came in to announce that there were seven mallards > in our driveway, pigging out on cracked corn. The last time I bought "hen > scratch" for quail, sparrows, linnets, etc., the cashier apparently added > cracked corn to my list and I didn't notice it. After he emptied the bag > into tubs, he asked why I bought it. I said I hadn't intended to, but as > it turns out, it's useful for the mallards. We don't live near "duck" > water, but for the past 6 years or so, we've had a pair of mallards feeding > among the quail just before nesting season. Last year when the hens were > warming eggs, I did see two drakes in our driveway. How we got to seven > mystifies me. > > I went into the kitchen, glanced out the kitchen window, then ran into the > other room to tell Chuck there was a huge balloon in back of our back > fence. He went out and watched the guys deflate a very colorful hot air > balloon in the vacant lot in back of us. It's a wonder we didn't hear it > passing overhead. We've had a number pass overhead, flying low, over the > years, and you certainly can hear them turn on the gas. > > Chuck went to Rotary Club early this morning (they meet at 7 a.m.), and > said he'd have to search for a new tub of black oil sunflower seed, so he'd > feed birds after he got home, about 8:30. I opened the drapery, and there > was a tableau of seven mallards, spread over the lawn and some standing in > the street. I opened the garage door, sending most of them flying, and > threw out cracked corn and bird seed. They'll be back. We have > ground-level bird baths, and there have been times they'd stand in the > water (I guess cooling their orange ankles) or lie down in it, overflowing > the birdbath all around with duck. I wish they'd range further afield in > my yard, to gobble slugs (they are out, saw the first slime trail > yesterday). The quail eat insects, but they are more interested in eating > any lettuce that germinates, unfortunately. And after we feed them all > winter! Don't knock sparrows. I watched one systematically eat every seed > off a dandelion seed head. Well, off to plantity plantity, plantity. > Margaret L Down here in Cajun land they call feeding ducks in your yard "baiting." Particularly if you shoot them over the bait. Beware of wishing ducks would range further afield, they feed mostly on young shoots of whatever is growing. Our ducks ate all of Miz Anne's freshly planted onions once. She looked back and they were patiently waiting for her to plant more. Ducks and geese also drop an awful lot of rather wet manure wherever they are too. Don't forget to wear your knee boots when you go out there. ;-) George, enjoying the picture of Margaret feeding ducks in her wellies.