What do you see?

This is the view of my neighbor's house from my driveway. Why am I showing you this?


No, it's not to show a clean, more traditional garden space -- in sharp contrast to my own. It's to show you something much more interesting.

***

Climbing the grassy hill the deck is high on this end...


...but the other side is only a step or two high:


Do you see anything interesting yet?


I'll give you a hint: focus on the planter box:


Not the planter itself, nor the plant it holds. Anything?

Maybe a slight angle change will help:


Okay, I'll help you out:


It's a duck!

More specifically, it's the female Mallard duck that's been visiting my pond for a few years.


She built a nest in the exact same spot as she did two years ago, and has been patiently sitting on it for the last three weeks or so. Mallard eggs hatch after around 21 days, so it will happen any day now. It's very exciting, but since that last duckling event did not have the best outcome I'm also getting quite worried.

It's those cats that roam around the neighborhood -- there are at least two that we see regularly -- they're the main issue.

The second problem is how far away the pond is from the nest!

Looking back to my house:


To ducklings possibly being chased by one or more cats, there's only a huge hill to descend, a street to cross (thankfully not heavily trafficked)...


...then a long stretch of hard concrete, again sloping downward -- thankfully I guess. Not until you reach the back corner of the house do you get a glimpse of the finish line (the pond):


But that's from a human vantage. For a duckling there'd be nothing but more obstacles to see until they reached the end of the driveway.

From there the pond is still pretty far away:


Good thing it's not ringed with huge rocks, right?

Seeing all of this, I'm surprised that even a single duckling made it into the water last time!

I felt like we had to do something to try and help the ducks this year, and the best and most practical solution we came up with was a "safety cage":


I placed it as close to the nest as I dared without blocking off the escape routes:


I'm hoping the ducklings will be able to fit through the fencing holes, but maybe I need to make bigger openings? At the very least it should provide some interference so the cat will have a harder time of things. Fingers crossed.

More on this exciting nerve-wracking situation soon.

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Mark and Gaz  – (April 23, 2018 at 7:06 AM)  

Oh wow, didn't get that right till the end!

Denise Maher  – (April 23, 2018 at 12:05 PM)  

So many gauntlets to run in spring! (Saw a hawk get a baby crow yesterday...)

Alan  – (April 23, 2018 at 5:37 PM)  

It was raining today, which would have been a perfect time for a hatching I think. Nothing yet though AFAIK.

Kathy G  – (April 24, 2018 at 9:20 PM)  

I know geese return to the same spot every year to lay their eggs. Guess ducks do too?

outlawgardener  – (April 25, 2018 at 9:03 AM)  

Fingers crossed for duckling survival! Wonder why mama didn't make her nest closer to the pond?

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