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Mallard Nesting Behavior

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Old Friday 9th February 2018, 18:32   #1
Chippy99th
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Mallard Nesting Behavior

I was at a pond today and saw a female mallard duck gathering bits of reeds and other nesting material and tucking it under her wings to carry. Im not a very experienced birder so maybe this is a silly question, but do mallards do this often? Ive never seen it. Im quite sure it was a mallard. (I have pictures but Im not sure how to upload them.)
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Old Friday 9th February 2018, 19:26   #2
fugl
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Originally Posted by Chippy99th View Post
I was at a pond today and saw a female mallard duck gathering bits of reeds and other nesting material and tucking it under her wings to carry. I’m not a very experienced birder so maybe this is a silly question, but do mallards do this often? I’ve never seen it. I’m quite sure it was a mallard. (I have pictures but I’m not sure how to upload them.)
Very interesting thing to have seen and unheard of as far I know. Here, for example, is what BNA-online (an authoritative source) has to say about Mallard nest building—

“Hen forms shallow depression or bowl on ground in moist earth by dropping forward onto her breast and digging into ground with feet while rotating to form bowl. Does not carry material to nest but rather uses what she can reach and pull toward her with bill while sitting on nest. During laying phase, bowl lined with vegetation and plant litter from nearby, including grasses, leaves, and twigs. Hen also pulls and bends tall vegetation over to conceal herself and nest. After incubation begins, plucks down from breast to line nest and cover eggs. Overwater nests range from simple bowls on floating vegetation mats to elaborate structures woven into emergent vegetation.”

Did you actually see the duck use the material for nest building? It's too early for Mallard nesting here in northern Nevada but maybe not in Phoenix?
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Last edited by fugl : Friday 9th February 2018 at 19:33.
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Old Friday 9th February 2018, 19:48   #3
Chippy99th
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Huh. I thought it was weird. I didn’t actually see her building a nest with it, just thought it was a nesting behavior because my parrot does the same thing to build nests, but maybe she was carrying it around for some other reason? I have no idea what other reason there would be though. It’s a bit early for her to be starting to nest, but not unusually so (I’ve seen it before this time of year), and we’ve had a very warm winter that seems to have prompted a lot of birds to start early. (Temperature’s been up in the 80s already. I’m a bit dismayed at the approaching heat!)

Thank you very much for responding, by the way. I’m still trying to figure out how to post pictures...
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Old Saturday 10th February 2018, 17:41   #4
FeatherBrain (Carly)
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Bonjour, I have never seen this behaviour with a Mallard before but I wonder if it was for some type of concealment. It is not normal nesting behaviour as pointed out by Fugl- all I can think is perhaps it was getting ready to hunker down for a nap. When nesting, or even daily napping, Mallards are very talented at concealing themselves in the vegetation. I've seen them pulling at it and bending it but not tucking it away, very interesting! Was the duck on open water or near the bank?

Edit: oh and I'll add that if you want to post a photo here, I think you click on "Go Advanced" and it allows you to attach a photo. :)

Last edited by FeatherBrain (Carly) : Saturday 10th February 2018 at 18:05.
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