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

10 thoughts on “Mallard Ducks – Mrs. Mallard and the Great Balancing Act

  1. You have got a great bird watching spot! I sit here on my patio with my laptop and birdsong overhead. Sounds like we both enjoy our feathered friends.


    1. I’m sure your feathered friends are quite different than mine! But just as much fun to watch!


  2. Or maybe she was waiting for him to finally ask for directions? That’s pretty cool. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a duck on a fence before.


    1. I hadn’t thought of that explanation, but it would make sense. As Elayne Boosler would say, “My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for 40 years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask directions.”


  3. What a wonderful view you have! I love your office! Here on my street, we have a returning osprey that builds its giant nest on top of a stadium light across the street. I watch it fly around the neighborhood gathering large sticks and bringing them back to the nest. It’s an amazing sight.


    1. There are certainly a lot of animals and birds that are able to move into urban settings without much problem. I expect these species are the most adaptable ones. In the city near us, deer and rabbits moved in. Most people liked them, except for the part where the animals eat the gardens. Then the coyotes moved in. The city people don’t want the coyotes, of course, but the coyotes just follow the food trail.


  4. Hi Margie,
    Sounds like the ideal office, what a fantastic view. I loved your story about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and I think you just may be right about the headache. 🙂


    1. There were 4 male mallards on the pond yesterday, but no female. I think she went shopping for the day to avoid them.


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