So today’s picture is of a female mallard that was just snoozing away in the sun the other day on my walk. I’m pretty sure that her mate was around—and I also know that she had her eye on me as well. I’m pretty sure that if I’d tried to get any closer she would have made a mad dash to the water or flown off.
Mallards live in wetland habitats—either natural or artificial; in other words they can be found on lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers, along the coasts, parks, and occasionally in someone’s backyard. Depending on what maps you look at—Oklahoma is either in the wintering zone of the mallards or the year-round zone of the mallard. I’m pretty sure that there is at least one pair that stays around all year—that means that come late summer, I hopefully can get some pictures of the parents with some of the young swimming on the lake.
Their diet is majority plant (as they can submerge their head & neck in the water to forge on aquatic plants), but can also eat insects, tadpoles, earthworms, and other small crustaceans. I have seen them “dabble”—where they stick their butts in the air and feed off the lake floor—but I never get the picture.
The color pattern of the mallard is as following: both sexes have the blue patch on the wing, with a white border. The males have the green head, while the females are more of a mottled brown color (makes sense as they are the ones usually incubating the eggs—you don’t want to stand out).
The pair usually have somewhere between 5-15 young (average is 7 to 10), and the young can feed themselves within a day of hatching. The young are able to fly usually about fifty to sixty days after hatching. The mallards raise one brood a year (and if it’s an early brood, there might be a second one).