Thursday, March 29, 2012

Windows to the Wild Side

Mallard hen on the roof ledge.
From the wall of windows I can see the trees and bushes in one of the courtyards.  I have watched the trees bud early.  Autumn leaves still litter the ground.  One class is watching their seedlings sprout.

On the ledge overlooking the courtyard.
For the past couple of weeks a female Mallard duck has been visiting.  I have watched her locate a place for her nest.  Mr J. the 4th grade teacher has also been checking on her.  Yesterday he showed me her first egg.  She had burrowed out a hole and laid her first egg.  She then covered it up with leaves.  Hiding it from prying eyes.

The first egg.
Mr J used a stick to uncover the eggs and then cover them back up.  He told me that she won't incubate the eggs until she is finished laying.  This was something I didn't know.  She actually stays away from the nest until she is ready to start sitting on them.  She will lay an egg a day until there are 12-14 eggs in her clutch.

Checking things out (still on the ledge).
Yesterday morning some of my students watched Mrs Duck land on the roof ledge and then fly into the courtyard.  We got a first hand view of how her feathers worked as camouflage.  She was hard to see as she walked on the leaves.  Today Mr. J. brought 2 of his students to look at the nest.  Today two eggs nestle together.

She made her nest in the courtyard last year.  After the ducklings hatched the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks was called to relocate her and her brood.  Mr H. suggested a live webcam so the kids could watch her and her family.  I am investigating how to do that.  I have never worked with webcams.  So this will be my next challenge.


  1. One of the second grade classes I work with have been watching the Decorah Eagles-via the United Streaming Live Web cam you posted... they were so excited to see the eggs!  How awesome for your students that they have the momma duck in their own backyard.  You should write a book about the happenings!

  2. Wouldn't you think the eggs would get too cold while she is waiting to lay them all?  Interesting.  What a wonderful thing for the students.  I hope you can get the webcam going & then post it too!  Fun to hear about Ruth!  One year, I spent early mornings with a student watching a mother fox teach her kits. I love the idea of watching, don't you?

  3. What a great, natural learning moment. I learned something new. (I didn't know they returned each day to lay the eggs and then sat on them once all of them were laid). 

  4. Ruth Ferris/StorykeeperMarch 29, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    I love getting glimpses.  I am excited to see if we can get a webcam going.  I think the kids will love it.

  5. Thanks for the images. Now I will have that duck in my head all day ..
    What a great learning experience for the kids.
    A kindergarten teacher in our school has hatched ducks in her room and used a webcam to share it with the entire school. My sixth graders love that ... because they remember the project from their kindergarten years.

  6. Love it!  A couple of years ago we had this happen in our courtyard at my spring school too!  It was so fun to see the ducklings when they hatched before our wildlife center took them.  The webcam is an awesome idea!  :-)

  7. The beauty and wonder of nature captured and shared. Small moments shared are often the most powerful. Words and pictures telling a story that is worth telling; a story that will stick with those who experienced it. We know writers react, well, here you are reacting...


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