Monday, June 16, 2008

Garden Discoveries

Years ago, my sister completed the requirements to achieve Backyard Wildlife Habitat status for our gardens from the National Wildlife Federation, long before there was an easy online certification process. Our properties provide the four basic habitat elements essential for wildlife which includes food, water, cover, and places to raise young. It is an exciting backyard, with lots of activity, mostly from songbirds, squirrels, and chipmunks. We do have an occasional hawk that flies thru, and the other day I spotted what I thought was a Mallard taking off from the garden.
It was one of my wishes to have a spot to sit and enjoy the garden, the sights and sounds and even fragrances that you find in a herb garden. Every now and then, we will enjoy a simple summer meal in the gazebo. It's a pleasant break from the norm. Well, today, hidden along side the gazebo, we discovered 4 eggs nestled among the weeds (yes, we have those), slightly tan eggs, larger than a chicken egg, and definitely a nest. With a quick Internet search, it was confirmed that they are Mallard eggs (a-ha, that was a Mallard I saw last week). The hen lays a single egg each day, up to about 8 - 12 eggs. Once all the eggs are laid, she will begin nesting for approx. 28 days. The eggs all hatch at the same time, and once hatched, she will lead her brood to food and water.

We do indeed have a backyard wildlife habitat. Wonder if mother Mallard read the sign, or did she simply assess the gardens, and determined they fulfilled her needs. In the meantime, we realize that nature can be cruel, we do hope these eggs are safe, and wonder where she will take her brood once hatched.

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Steph said...

Congratulations on those eggs! How exciting! I hope to have a backyard certification some day, too!

Marilyn Miller, the Marmalady said...

I hope they will be safe too! Please keep us posted on the life of the Mallard in your yard.

Alice said...

One of Nature's special treats to be able to watch as these eggs turn into ducks.

Firefly Nights said...

Didn't know there is a Backyard Wildlife Habitat designation. You must have a great yard.

Rosemary said...

Unfortunately, it appears as if this little nest has been abandoned. Mama Mallard hasn't returned, and the eggs remain untouched.