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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Muscovy Ducks on the Pond

Last week I posted this photo on Instagram.
I asked the question "Who knows what kind of ducks these are?"

Several of our followers knew!
They are Muskovy Ducks.

Back in October, this strange looking large duck arrived on our pond.
This is about as close as I could get to it.
This photo is using the 300mm zoom lens on my big girl camera.

This large odd looking duck would arrive on the pond, hang out in the trees for a few days, disappear for a few more days, then return.

I continued to tell Flower Boy, "That duck has escaped from someone's pen.  We should catch it and let it live with our ducks before something gets it."

This happened until January.

Two strange looking large ducks arrived on our pond.
They have yet to have left.

The pair has become more friendly.
They don't mind us, or the dogs, being near them now.

Muscovy Ducks are native to Mexico, Central and South America.
I have never seen a wild Muscovy Duck in our neck of the woods.
They are a tropical bird, so I have researched.

Since when did Oklahoma become "tropical"?
Our weather pattens have been a bit off these past 10 months, but tropical we are not!

Muscovy Ducks prefer habitats with water and sheltered trees.
NOW, this is more like our area.
Below is a view from our front porch.
Next best thing to any tropical paradise I could ever imagine.
I guess this pair of Muscovy Ducks agree!

Research shows Muscovy Ducks are intelligent, shy and silent.
They can fly, although they don't get far off the ground.
This is probably due to their size.
Mature males can weigh over 15 pounds.
They are perching ducks.
 Our pair perch on our dock each night.
They also nest or perch in trees.
Muscovy Ducks have long claws on their feet, which allows them to grab and climb.

Muscovy Ducks are the only ducks that are not genetically derived from Mallard ducks.

Although I feed our pair,
Muscovy Ducks eat insects, roots, stems, leaves, seeds, fish, reptiles, and small mammals.

The female is the smaller of the pair.
She is also the more solid black in color.

The pair will breed up to three times per year.
The female will lay between 8 and 16 eggs.
Her nest will be in a hollow or hole of a tree.
She incubates her eggs for 35 days.

We believe the female has found a place and has started building her nest.
We will keep you posted!

I have also read, the Muscovy male can be aggressive.
We have observed, when our domesticated ducks arrive to the pond, the male Muscovy greets them.
His greeting doesn't seem to be aggressive, but the other ducks are only in the pond for a short dip.
They quickly get out of the pond and return to the pens or go to the other side of the pond, away from the Muscovy pair.

We really enjoy watching the pair and hope they "home" at the ranch.  

Thanks for stopping by!
Rancher Girl

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