Last weekend it was so nice outside, we went for a walk down to the local duck pond. Though the lingering winter chill kept other people inside, the birds in the park were in full springtime mode: singing from branches and telephone poles, scuffling with rivals, and flitting around with their bird partner.
At the pond was no different. Since people from the neighborhood feed the birds often, usually we are greeted by curious ducks and pigeons expecting a handout. However, this time they were all too busy with their own affairs to notice us. Some pigeons did approach, but the males were mostly interested in posturing at the females. Likewise, the ducks and sparrows clearly had other things on their minds as they chased each other around the pond and trees, respectively.
We did get to see the outcome of all this activity: many tiny ducklings paddled around in the water, periodically peeping to stay in touch with their mother and siblings. The mother ducks were very unconcerned with their offspring’s whereabouts, as several ducklings wandered nearly to the other end of the pond before they noticed. We thought this was quite negligent as we’d seen a hawk in the area, but the ducks seemed happy.
The most interesting bird behavior that we saw came from a pair of rosellas. These parrots are usually shy and tend to fly off if they think they’ve been seen, but this pair was busy shopping for real estate. Some of the trees around the pond have holes in them, and the parrots systematically inspected them, peering inside and looking around them, even getting inside a hole and peeking out. As these birds nest in holes, it was clear to us that they were looking for the best place to start a family.
They finally settled on one high in a tree, out of the reach of the neighborhood cats. We intended to return to the pond this weekend, but the weather was the polar opposite: steady rain and wind made it a perfect winter weekend to stay indoors. Once the sunny spring days return, we will go back to check on the pond again!