Mallard Ducks – Mrs. Mallard and the Great Balancing Act

My “Office” is a reclining chair in the living room. A table on each side, laptop computer on a board that spans the two arms of the chair. A good view out the living room window. A very comfortable way of keeping track of what is going on in both the big world of the internet and the little world of my back yard.

This morning I spotted Mr. Mallard patrolling the fence line. Then I suddenly realized that Mrs. Mallard was perched on top of the chain link fence. I quickly took a photo through the window, then watched for a few minutes as Mrs. Mallard shifted her weight a few times in order to maintain her balance. Her chest was firmly perched on the top rail, and her feet anchored her position in the chain link.


Mr. Mallard continued to pace back and forth in front of Mrs. Mallard. She carefully followed his every move.


After several minutes, I began to be concerned that Mrs. Mallard had gotten stuck in the fence. Maybe her foot was caught in the chain link. Maybe Mr. Mallard was pacing back and forth, trying to think of a way to rescue her. So I abandoned my spying position inside the house, and quietly stepped out onto the deck, hoping not to alarm them.

The Mallards are very skittish right now, and as soon as Mr. Mallard spotted me he was in the air. And right behind him was Mrs. Mallard. She wasn’t stuck after all.

I continued on down to the fence, and realized that Mrs. Mallard had chosen to land on the only piece of the entire fence that would allow a duck to sit there. The chain link has become detached from the top rail, and has dropped down a few inches. Mrs. Mallard’s feet were actually resting nicely on the slightly rolled  top edge of the chain, giving her fairly firm and safe footing.

I can’t say I know enough about ducks to understand why she would sit there. My only thought is, it might be her way of saying, “Not today dear, I have a headache…”

The Feather Files
Name: Mallard Duck
Species: Anas platyrhynchos
Native to and Migration: Most mallard ducks are migratory birds, flying south to temperate climates during the winter, and northwards in the summer to nesting grounds.
Date Seen: May, 2011
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada