If you read my earlier blog but not the updated version, then there are a couple of corrections. Daisy left her nest at 01:40:55 after the possum settled down. She landed back on the nest after a break and foraging at 04:59. That was very short! The Ring-tail possum will be an annoyance to Daisy but, unlike the Bushtail Possum, the Ring-tail will not eat the eggs. Last night the Ring-tail and Daisy scared one another leaving Daisy to reveal all of her eggs.
It is now 09:17. Daisy did not lay another egg this morning. So the total of eggs is eight. In the image above you can see that Daisy is getting more down off. It is going between and around the eggs. Daisy is now in ‘hard’ incubation. Normally she would leave the nest often for short bits. Because of the Ravens, she might leave at night to forage. She will probably not be off the eggs for more than 3-4 hours at a time. The eggs will take 26-30 days to hatch. So if we count yesterday as hard incubation day 1, we are looking at 5-9 of January for the ducklings – should the eggs survive to hatch – to arrive. The following day they would leap off the old Ironbark Tree nest to the forest of the floor and follow their brave Mum down to the river where they can begin relative independent lives. They are fully capable of regulating their temperature and feeding themselves, plus walking and swimming when they hatch.
Some images of our favourite brave little duck – the little duck who might, against all odds, hatch some ducklings!
Daisy continues to remove more down, mixing it with the eggs or tucking it in each side.
One of the things I realized today is just how important sound is to Daisy. She has to be able to differentiate the sound of the Ravens from all the other noises including airplanes. She also has to be able to detect when the Ravens – or Sea Eagles – are coming due to the vocalizations in the forest.
Daisy has been on the nest now for almost five hours and no predators. Putting myself in her place – knowing that around where I was trying to keep my children save – were predators that would harm them but I have no idea when they will try to break in the house to take them. I can imagine that this little duck is under a lot of stress. She cannot let her guard down for a second. She is doing her very best!
Daisy has removed more down and some of it has decorated the back of her neck.
At 09:55:17, the pair of Ravens came to the Ironbark Tree. They did not land on the nest but in the upper branches and made a lot of noise and then flew away.
Daisy immediately tucks her head in but she is very vigilant – ready to strike if they get on the nest.
The concept of ‘the sitting duck’ is too appropriate. But, so far, the little duck has held.
It is now 10:15 and the Ravens cannot be heard in the forest. They will return. Just when is a guess but they will be back.
For a comparison of their size, the Pacific Black Duck ranges in length from 54-31 cm with the males being larger. The wingspan is 90 cm and they weight 1000-1100 grams. Australian Raves are 46-53 cm in length and weigh 650 grams. They have a wingspan of 100 cm. Daisy could be a little smaller in terms of length and wingspan but she outweighs the Ravens by at least 350 grams or about 3/4 of a pound.
Daisy is really pulling off the down. More is clinging to the back of her neck. I hope it doesn’t blow off and be wasted. Hopefully when Daisy has to take a break she will be able to cover up the eggs really well with more down to help her. I wonder if that would deter the Ravens?
It is nearing 10:30 in the morning for Daisy. I have the sound turned up so I can hear if the Ravens return and will be monitoring what Daisy is doing from now to dark. All I can hear in the forest right now are a lot of Noisy Miners. I will do a posting at dusk (2am CDT in Canada) of a round up of the rest of the day’s events.
Thank you for coming to check on Daisy, the brave Pacific Black Duck who is on day 2 (?) of her hard incubation. Take care everyone. Stay safe.
Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.