Friday, October 3, 2014

Whistlers on a Friday

I only gave you one Whistler photo on Wednesday so I'm going to include a few more for today. One morning in mid-August, I heard a Whistler sounding an alarm - sort of a quick, sharp, repetitive 'pip'. I soon saw we had a new brood of babies on the pond. They were fearful, so I stayed far away and cropped these in a bit to share with you.
Mom leading her troop of tiny tots.

The early morning light was harsh, and her alert eye almost looks doll-like.
She quickly took them into the floating primrose-willow to give them some cover.



   
Here's Dad who was on shore, sounding the alert.
This is why Papa Duck was so worried. A Red-Shouldered Hawk was perched along the fence rails at the pond's edge.


Papa Duck flew at the young hawk to give him a warning...
 then flew out to meet the family in the pond.


   
(I flipped this one, just for fun.)
The hawk activity that day was intense. I kept hearing the Whistlers sounding alarm calls while several hawks stayed near the pond. The next day, the family had moved off to another location (several neighboring ponds in the area may have been easier sites for them.)
Some of you have asked if we put up nesting boxes for them. No, for the simple reason we have snapping turtles in the pond and lots of hawks (and even our dogs stressed them out by giving water chase in their younger days). Watching the ducklings get plucked off one by one is mighty tough, so we don't encourage them to nest here. We have had some survive - like the late brood from last September - but we've also had whole broods wiped out by predators. If they choose to nest here, it's not because we told them to. :)

Linking to Weekend Reflections

113 comments:

georgettesullins said...

Oh this makes my heart skip a beat. Prayers for these little guys and their family. What a tale you tell today in pictures.

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

Wow, it's a dangerous world out there

nookworm said...

It's Nature's way and sometimes it really hurts when we see the little ones vanish. It happened to me with a large brood if signets, and It happens all the time but it's not for us to question - just to accept.

magnoliasntea said...

Oh good, a full plate of whistlers! :) I just love those birds, and this family is cute as can be. Kudos to Dad for buzzing the hawk.

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

That's a cracking series of photos and a poignant, exciting, story told. Interesting that the hawks aren't territorial; and that's a brave Mr Whistler!

Dicky Bird said...

First, adorable ducklings! Good job papa duck! Wise of you not to encourage nesting. Thanks for getting the pictures along with the story, I enjoyed that!

Gail Dixon said...

What drama! Love your series and reading more about the Whistlers' experience on your pond. I know the hawks have to eat, but dang.

Terri said...

I think it is awesome that you get to see them at all! I have never seen one anywhere but here on your blog. I wish they would come visit me!

Julia said...

Aww, the little ones are so cute. I hope they survive but their chances looks slim with that hawk around and the snapping turtles. It's the survival of the fittest out there.
Hugs.
JB

Bethany Carson said...

The whistlers certainly have a lot of little ones with them! Looks like they are great parents!

William Kendall said...

That's a very alert papa.

DJan said...

It must be hard to get so many little ones from place to place. And for the hawk, they must look like little treats. I hope they make it, I love those little puffballs, and I've only seen pictures of them. Yes, it's a harsh world out there.

Linda Kay said...

Awwww, that is so adorable. How fun to capture that line of ducklings. The hawk looks ferocious...wonder what he sees?

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Good ole Papa Duck! The little hawk knows he's outmatched.

DeniseinVA said...

They are adorable and Mama and Papa Whistler have their work cut out for them.

ellen abbott said...

nature can be harsh but everything has to eat. besides if all the babies survived, the world would be overrun. even so, I imagine it is hard to see them get taken one by one.

MarkD60 said...

It would be upsetting to see a hawk get a baby duck.

I think an owl got our white cat a year ago.

Cranberry Morning said...

Good for you. You're not being selfish and making them nest there. What a beautiful little family! And I'm sure the hawks are thinking of them as tasty treats. :-(

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

They're so cute but it's really hard to watch the predators take over. We used to have wild baby bunnies here and I was always sad when the neighbor's cat would take them. I miss their cuteness but not the worries.

Arija said...

I like the way you think about them nesting in such a dangerous place. Lovely to see the little family so alert and protective.

Amy Burzese said...

So cute to see babies following after mom. Circle of life goes on, but I hope all of them make it.

bj said...

Such a cute little family. Boo to the owl....natures way, I guess.









Rose said...

They are so adorable...it would be hard watching them get wiped out. I often wish we could all just be herbivores...animals, too.

Fjällripan said...

What a great sighting! The hawk is so beautiful! and the small ducklings so sweet :))

Liz said...

What a gorgeous family of Whistlers!!
I hope they all survived.

Pom Pom said...

Gasp! The babies are SO CUTE! The hawk! Yikes!

don said...

I enjoyed today's post with the blow by blow account of the young whistlers. I hope many of the young brood make it.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That was interesting to read at the end. It would of have been just as interesting to watch what you observed. Making that perilous journey from one pond to another would be a whole other matter.

Sylvia K said...

Such great shots!! Love seeing all the babies and I do hope they survive!

James said...

I'm always a sucker for a cute duck family. :-)

Ela said...

Great family! Dad duck is a true hero defending his family !
Have a nice weekend :)

Sandra said...

i think you made the right decsision, the birds need to take care of themselves... i was smiling and happy looking at those babies, until i saw the hawk... i have seen our hawks destroy the sweet doves and it hurts my heart. i come in the house and don't watch... those babies are just to cute

Kim Hkiss said...

That is cute!

Kim,USA

Birdman said...

Ya, this might not end well. Papa and Mom need to be vigilent.

Debbie said...

they seem pretty smart to me....the circle of life can be harsh!!

nice images today, it was like watching a nature movie, narrated by tex!!!

Terry and Linda said...

I couldn't watch the slaughter either!

I hope our rain makes it to you!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/?s=The+Adventures+of+Fuzzy+and+Boomer&submit=Search
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Felicia said...

beautiful family. hope they all survived but probably not...law of nature.

great reflections

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Alas, I have never been on Whistler round-up and probably never will.

'Tsuki said...

I just love the way you told the story, with pics of all the actors of this very moment... The prey bird is terrific, no wonder why Daddy duck was so worried ! And the baby ducks are so cute...

Ileana said...

Adorable babies duck!:)

Gosia k said...

I would like to have small ducks.

bailey-road.com said...

What a dramatic sequence! I hope those worried parents found a safer place for their adorable brood.

Farm Girl said...

What lovely shots! I am so glad you shared these today. I loved them.
I wondered how you could take that. I totally understand your reasoning about not giving them nesting places. I think that is good thinking.

Cloudia said...

Sweet picture - tough reality.
Good post




Howdy & ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
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Beth of ".E." Lizard Breath Speaks said...

wow, i wonder how many will last? i understand the hawk has to eat & keep the food chain going ... but come on now??! they are too cute to kill off. keep us posted. i wonder what will happen? ( :

Revrunner said...

Yikes! Better count those young ones to make sure they're all there.

Leovi said...

Nice pictures. I encantaa the breast and all her offspring!

thepoodleanddogblog said...

What a fascinating family drama you have presented here.

Pantherka said...

Lovely little family ... your series of photos is beautiful.

Stephen Hayes said...

These Whistlers sure are good parents, which can't be easy considering all those predators.

Rajesh said...

Fantastic shots of the birds. Nice reflection there.

Nancy J said...

I hope they all survive, when we have baby duckling in the stream near us. I fret if I see a hawk, or hear the duck or drake giving warning noises by the water.Lovely story tale, your words so fit the photos every day. Cheers,Jean

Malyss said...

Those ducks have very strange eyes ! Cute family !

Helma said...

Oh what fun these little ducks:-)))))) I also see the bird sitting in wait, so I hope he has not eaten little ducklings. You have a fantastic and fun photos.

eileeninmd said...

Oh my Whistling duck babies, now that is really cool! Sorry to hear the predators are getting them. Adorable family shots! Happy weekend!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Our local Muscovy Ducks in Florida show an almost daily decrease in the number of ducklings. While I have seen Red-shouldered Hawks pass over them and they actually dove under water, the only loss I witnessed was when a big bass just gulped one down right before my eyes.

Mama Zen said...

The babies are so cute!

Chandra said...

Very nice post, giving several details and the pictures of the old and the younguns.

I hear the hawks in our backyard and then the alarms of the little birdies.

I have a good idea of what's going on, but given the choice, I don't want to be a witness.

Happy Friday and Have a Great Weekend, Theresa!

Peace :)

Marit Sønstebø said...

Lovely photos! The hawk was awesome :)

Ms. A said...

Knowing it's the way of nature doesn't seem to make it any easier to take the losses and certainly not to witness them.

LOVE that you flipped a shot!

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

I like your reasoning, it would be heartbreaking to see them killed. Cool reflection!

Karen S. said...

Oh my goodness the eye does look doll like! Much like the eye decorations I have. Beautiful captures of the Hawk, incredible. I agree about building shelter for them, I quit feeding birds where our outdoor cats roamed!

Marie said...

Baby whistlers! So exciting! The photos are wonderful! The babies are so cute! But the drama indeed had to be intense as the hawks paid close attention, and worried the Dad to bits! Glad to moved to a safer spot. I hope all goes well for the sweet little family.

Paula said...

Those babies are sooo sweet. We keep watching the river for baby ducks where the city put up the duck crossing signs.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Papa Duck flew at the young hawk to give him a warning...

What a brave dad!
~

Bob Bushell said...

Scary moments there on the water, a good Papa Duck.

Black Jack's Carol said...

What beautiful shots. Such a tough go to raise a brood of ducklings. I have to remind myself that if every hatchling survived, nature's balance would be all out of whack.

Deanna said...

Oh it must be pretty darn sad to see a whole brood of ducklings plucked off by predators, I once saw a baby rabbit get killed by crows and it just broke my heart!!

RedPat said...

Wow - it wouldn't be fun to see them disappearing. Poor little things.

Margaret Adamson said...

Fantastic reflections. These babies are adorable and I hope all save and grown up now.

Robin Lamb said...

T, that's wonderful! I hope some of them make it past the most vulnerable time. She had quite a brood!

Hilary said...

The wee ones are just SO cute. I'm glad the parents got them to a less active zone.. hopefully. Great catches, Tex.

Molly The Wally said...

Oh dear we can so understand as we have crows here that pick off the ducklings given half a chance and it is not nice at all. Have a fabulous Friday.
Best wishes Molly

Primitive Stars said...

Afternoon, love the wee ducklings, so cute. I would be on pins and needles with the Hawk around the pond.Blessings Francine.

MarmePurl said...

Amazing how hawks can be love and loathed at the same time. Ah, Nature..

DIMI said...

The ducklings are adorable Tex!
I'm glad they're safe from the bad hawk!Amazing refleftions of the lovely little family!!Great shots!!
Dimi...

Our photos said...

Glad to see this story has a happy ending ! (they are sooo cute !)

Lynn@Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

The babies are cute, hope everyone stays safe:@)

A Quiet Corner said...

Awwww...the kids and knowing it is not a perfect place for them, a visit is more than enough!...:)JP

Mary Kirkland said...

aww babies. Hope they all survive this season and the hawks don't get at them.

Red said...

Unfortunately , they're an easy catch for predators.

Sally Crowe said...

Wow - I don't blame y'all. So sad when that happens.

Look at those little ones, so cute. :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Nature isn't always kind. A hard lesson to accept -- but part of being grown up (sometimes I hate being a grownup even though I've had so many decades to practice). Adorable babies and I hope they were safe in their new location.

Stephanie said...

Hope those little ones survived. But nature does what nature does. I don't like it but it is how it happens. Great images!

Lois Evensen said...

Those ducklings are darling. :) The hawks are tough in our neighborhood in the city, too. We had to be careful with our puppy when she first came home, but now she is too big for our hawks.

Munir said...

The babies camouflage so well. Nature's way of protecting them, eh?

SweetMarie said...

Love brave Papa!! I completely agree with you. :)

KB Bear said...

Thanks for showing us such a cool story, although I hate the thought of one of those little balls of feathers being picked off by any predator. I understand your nesting box decision...

Great captures. It can't have been easy with the distances involved.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Great post! Love the duckies.

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Theresa,
Lovely photos, the reflection is perfect; even upside down.
It is so harsh to see the ducklings disappear day after day... Here the hawks ate several when we had our Kwekkie have brood after brood on the pond. I babysat them, early in the morning I would get out and give her protection as she came out of the creek and crossing a few yards over the lawn to our pond. A perfect spot for a hawk to dive down and snatch up a meal... But regardless my efforts, the turtles pulled them down, once I saw that I was out with the rifle at dawn and killed a Florida cooter. Got eaten by the mosquitoes but I managed and Pieter later raked the dead turtle out of the pond and said I shot him through his neck. We lost around 65! Kwekkie had none left. But it is impossible to interfere in nature; how cruel it might look at times.
Hugs and happy weekend.
Mariette

rainfield61 said...

They see each other.

But not a friendly find.

Paul said...

These are real nice pictures of a young Whistler family!

Randy said...

The babies are too cute.

Rita said...

The Whistlers have a rougher life than I thought. Mom and Dad were sure doing their best, though.

Brian King said...

Cute little suckers! Just the right size for that hawk, too. I like the hawk, though. :-)

Small City Scenes said...

Good for Pap. I hope they all survived. MB

Catherine said...

Nature is so beautiful to witness. ~ Catherine

Brzoza B said...

Wonderuf photos ducks...

valerietilsten59.blogspot.com said...

What wonderful photos you took of mummy and her little brood.
Amazing, that daddy whistler, showed his anger to the hawk.
Animals ! They are much cleverer than we give them credit for.
A super post Tex.
Whistlers on a Friday..!!!
Do the turtles eat ducks.!!!
val
Happy weekend. x

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Ohhhh. Delightful pictures.. Love it.. :-)))

Irma said...

Good to see that the little ones saved, they are so cute.
Unfortunately, they are easy prey for a bird of prey.
I wish you a very good weekend.

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

What an awesome series!

Wally Jones said...

Enjoying Nature is not for the feint of heart!

It's refreshing that you make tough but common sense decisions about wildlife management. Of course, I'd expect nothing less of a Texan!

Great photos of the family and the hawk!

Jeanne said...

They are so sweet but nature can be harsh. I agree that you should not encourage nesting where the predators are abundant. I'm sure those hawks keep your land from being overrun with unwanted critters.

Leslie said...

Awe...those ducklings. God bless 'em...it amazes me that ducks survive at all.

Laura. M said...

I like that family of ducks !!

Annette Mickelson said...

I'm glad they decide to nest in your neck of the woods despite the predators; they are just too stinkin' cute.

Elaine said...

Those little ones are adorable!

Made by KKann said...

Nice story and photos.

sweetdaysundertheoaks.com said...

Yeah, I couldn't watch them get plucked off Tex.. couldn't do it.

Susan (ABON) said...

The ducklings are precious. So sad to know that most of them don't survive. Life is tough for many of our wildlife friends.

Indrani said...

I like the family bonding here.
Great series!

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful photos! I know it is nature's way, but it kind of sucks when there is a bunch of other animals wanting to eat your offspring.

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