Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Naughty duckling gets a dunking as bossy mallard implements a 'quackdown'


Now young whippersnapper: A bossy mallard grabs a misbehaving duckling by the leg at a wetlands park in Oregon, USA

To the little duckling, it may have seemed a good idea to go off exploring his pond on his own. Until this happened.

The youngster was spotted straying too far from his family by another mother mallard who immediately swam into action.

Because the duckling’s own mother wasn’t around to teach him a safety lesson, the older bird picked him up by a leg before pushing him underwater at the wetlands park in Oregon.

The duckling chirped for help as she carried on dunking him for more than a minute before releasing him back to his mother following the harsh punishment.

The incident was captured on camera by photographer Arman Werth, at a wetlands park, in Beaverton, Oregon, U.S..

Arman, a 23-year-old tutor from Portland, Oregon, said: 'I had been watching a few mallard mother ducks swimming in a large pond, with ducklings of different ages bobbing around them.

Going under: The duckling chirps for help as it's taught a lesson by the mallard in an incident captured by photographer Arman Worth

'This particular female had two older ducklings, which means she is likely to have lost at least a couple of younger ones in their early life.

'My own hypothesis is that this mother saw first hand what happens when young ones run off on their own and wanted to teach this younger one a lesson.

'She saw this youngster swimming towards her all by itself, away from its brothers and sisters and without a mother nearby to protect it.

'The next thing I heard was a duckling chirping very loudly and some splashing.

Bubbling under: The mallard completes its short sharp lesson before handing the duckling back into the care of its mother

'I looked up and saw this mother with a tiny duckling in her mouth and just stood there in shock for a few seconds before raising my camera to take a burst of shots.

'She had the duckling by a leg and was repeatedly dunking it for over a minute.
'At some point she thought that she must have taught the young one its lesson and let it go, and it rushed in the direction that it came from chirping very loudly trying to find its mother.

'It looked like it eventually met up with a group of ducklings around its age so I am guessing it found its brothers and sisters.

'I've never seen anything like it before, but I'm hoping the little one has learnt its lesson.'

Help! The duckling chirps as the mallard raises her head out of the water
Alison Enticknap, spokeswoman for the RSPB, said: 'Generally it's the better mothers that are very protective over their own ducklings, and will occasionally attack the young of others.

'They will sometimes pick them up and shake them very vigorously, so this little one got off relatively lightly.

'It looks to be around a week old, so fortunately it was strong enough to deal with it.

'Hopefully it will have learned its lesson and will stay safely with mum from now on.'

source: dailymail

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