While out walking on the weekend I was delighted to get my first glimpse of tiny ducklings this year. I couldn’t get close enough for a photo, and only saw them because a particularly large bald eagle was repeatedly swooping down on them. Mama duck luckily was able to shepherd her brood to safety under a half submerged tree branch and the eagle gave up.
This image was captured exactly a year ago, under similar circumstances. My arrival at the edge of the pond rattled the mama duck and she wouldn’t let her babies come close enough for photos, so I settled down to wait. An hour later she seemed more relaxed, then a large hawk started circling overhead. I was surprised when mama duck hustled her babies over to where I was observing from the bushes, parked them 10 or so feet away from me, made eye contact with me, and then keeping her babies between her and me, turned her back on them so she could keep track of the hawk until it flew away. Smart duck! I was very touched that she felt she could trust me, and I was rewarded with some nice shots of the babies. This image is one of my favorites from that day.