Uh, I Think This May be Too Many Ducks
Some years back, a pair of mallard ducks took up residence at the pond just outside the alumni center—right below the magazine offices, which are in what used to be called University House. The ducks spent the summer raising a family of ducklings and gave us plenty of reasons to eat our lunch outside on the bridge over the pond. I wrote a column about this for the magazine a few years ago.
The next year, the mallard pair came back and brought some of their friends, and the year after that they brought even more of their friends.
Well, it must be spring, because the gang is back. The other morning I counted 14 (!) ducks on the lawn next to the alumni center. The photo here shows just a small subset of them. They tend to hold a noisy group meeting on the lawn each morning and then disperse for the day—some to the upper pond, some to the lower, some to who knows where.
I really don’t see how this small space is going to support seven duck-couples and their offspring. It could get a little squabbly—and messy—as the summer goes on. But I assume that ducks have their ways of working these sorts of territories out, and maybe all 14 won’t stay for the summer.
I’m also mindful of the fact that a red-tailed hawk lives in the neighborhood, so I worry a little for the ducks. I would think that Mister Hawk could easily eat a duckling a day if he wanted to.
We’ll let you know how the situation unfolds. If you’re on campus this summer, be sure to stop by—the alumni center, and the gardens around it, are gorgeous. And I can almost guarantee you’ll see ducks.
Tina Hay, editor