Duckling Swimming Underwater!- 06.17.12
The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.
As a little side project, I’ve been helping hatch poultry for the always wonderful Mudchute Park & Farm and our most recent arrivals have been two beautiful Mandarin ducklings. You can find out more about their incubation and see the eldest just after hatching on the Mudchute blog.
Ducklings should be introduced to water early on as these mandarins would naturally have jumped from their nest in a hole in a tree and headed straight for the water with their mom. So we got a paint tray (they’re ideal because they are fairly shallow and graded, allowing the ducklings to get in and out of the water on their own and introduced the ducklings on their first day post-hatching. I expected the little ducklings to paddle contentedly at the surface, but to my surprise, the youngest duckling dove right in and began swimming underwater (more like you might expect from a gannet, puffin or penguin!). She does it in a crazed frenzy, swimming madly around, completely submerged then leaping out of the water entirely! It’s all a mad blur in real time, but photos capture the frenzy (and mess), her expression almost reminds me of the portraits of dogs underwater. More photos of our adorable little duckling splashing around on the next page!