Last year we had a Robin's nest just outside our kitchen window. The whole family was excited to watch the tiny bright blue eggs hatch and see the chicks grow and eventually fledge.
Yesterday we found a new surprise:
9 eggs! A Mallard duck has taken up residence in our crumbling stone grill/fireplace and has built a rather cozy nest. We had actually planned to finally take the grill down this year, but obviously that will have to wait. :)
I'm really excited to see if Mama Duck is able to successfully hatch a brood of little ducklings. It's odd that she chose our backyard, because we aren't within visual distance of a natural water source. But then again, I'm not a duck, and she obviously picked our yard for a reason. She may still be in the laying stage; I'll keep an eye on the nest over the next few days to see if she lays more. She wasn't on the nest all day, which apparently isn't too unusual until she finishes laying and begins incubating. She finally settled in for the night at around 6:30 this evening. Her head just peeks out from the top of the fireplace and she blends in perfectly with the stone. Pretty smart actually...she is protected in the back of the fireplace and has a bit of a vantage point off the ground which hopefully will protect her and her ducklings. The large barking Rottweiler in the yard behind us doesnt seem to bother her too much. We will just have to establish some ground rules with our kids and the other neighborhood kids to be sure everyone stays away from the nest for a while.
The kids are excited too, and already we have been doing some research on Mallards and the nesting/hatching process. Watch this space for updates on the nest this spring! :)