My Mother Is Expecting Septuplets, And, No, I'm Not Entirely Kidding

My mother, Joanne, emailed me about an exciting new development in her life, and I had to share it with you guys, because it involves babies! Babies!  The text below is my mother's email to me a couple of afternoons ago:

photo credit: my mom

photo credit: my mom


Now that I have your attention! …an interesting story from our house.

This afternoon Ted [that's my father] and I found out that we are hosting a mallard duck couple in our back yard, and they are expecting six (6) babies shortly. *

Last summer we would see a mallard couple strolling down our sidewalk towards the top of the crescent. We wondered why they were living so far from a body of water. They strolled with confidence as though our crescent had been their home for years.

I have been waking each morning for the past few weeks to loud mallard calls that sounded very, very close to the house. Naturally, I presumed that it was the same mallard couple and they were flying over our house to their nest somewhere in the community. This afternoon I was doing some yard work beside the garden shed. I heard some rustling, and suddenly a large squawking mallard female flew just inches past my head and out the yard. We found a nest with six eggs at the base of the cedar immediately to the right of the garden shed.

This is not an ideal nesting spot! The babies will want to run about while they are growing, possibly for up to two to three months. We also have two neighbourhood cats who frequent our yard (much to our annoyance). She must be thinking she will walk her babies to the pond at the golf course for their first swim lessons. I can imagine the lawn mower will scare the little ones. The web says they like to eat bugs, frogs, all the plants that grow along the water's edge, tubers and roots of water plants. What is this little gal thinking? We don't have much to offer her. We also don't want to feed the little family because then they will be back for sure.

Anybody got some great ideas about our rather odd house guests?

* You might have noticed that she said there were six eggs in the nest but that her photo shows seven. Apparently, another egg has shown up since yesterday.

It's a good half-mile walk out of my parents' yard and down some fairly major streets to get to the golf course where the nearest pond is, so we have a question for you guys. What's a mama duck to do? What is a mama duck's human host family to do? They are quite understandably terrified of the lawnmower. Should the nest and eggs be left where they are?

If any of you happen to be duck aficionados, hit us with your knowledge in the comments. Thank you!