Today in Nagano, Japan, a paddling of ducklings took a leap of faith at 7:07:59 and leapt out of the Ural Owl Nest Box where they hatched yesterday.
Mandarin Ducks are some of the most beloved birds in the world. It is mainly because of the beautiful plumage of the male.
The female, on the other hand, is quite plain in comparison although I think she is quite beautiful with her white eyeliner extending back and her pinkish purple bill. In fact, I think she is much more beautiful than the male – she is quiet and serene. Were I to describe the male in art historical terms, he might be Baroque or Rococo while she might be monochromatic and minimalistic.
Mandarin Ducks were originally found in China, Japan, eastern Russia, and Korea, only. They are a symbol of love and fidelity and a pair of Mandarin Ducks was a popular wedding gift in Asia. However, much of their habitat has been destroyed with the growth of cities and industrial areas. They now thrive as far away as Europe and the United States and are listed as ‘of least concern’ despite the fact that their numbers are declining!
The female will lay 9-12 eggs in a hollow of a tree that is at least 8 metres off the ground or, in the case of the nest we are going to watch, the female laid the eggs in a Ural Owl Nest Box. It takes 28 to 33 days to hatch. The male will stay with the female protecting the nest and helping until the ducklings hatch and then poof – like a magician – he will disappear only to return again during the next breeding season. The ducklings will need to get to water after 24 hours. They are precocial. This means that they are fully feathered, their eyes are open, and they know, by instinct, how to feed themselves. They are completely capable of taking care of themselves but they will stay with the mother for security and warmth.
Here is the video of the ducklings following their mother – taking that leap of faith – and jumping out of the nest box in Nagano. They fledged this morning on 22 June 2021.
Thank you so much for joining me today. It is the Summer Solstice on the Canadian Prairies and it feels more like fall than the warm sunny days of summer. I hope you have enjoyed seeing these little ones jump – follow their mother – to start their new lives.
Thank you to Hukurou Shimasen for their streaming cam where I took my video clip.
The featured image credit is to: “Mandarin Duck” by Mike’s Birds is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0