Seasonal stress?

Back in late October and November I made a few trips out to the bird sanctuary during which I noticed that the Canada geese as well as the coots were a little irritable with each other, frequently getting into squabbles for reasons that were not apparent to me. During a cold spell in late November I made another trip out there and this time it was the mallards’ turn to have a hair trigger. I don’t blame them really, with the exception of a few isolated areas where the birds kept the water agitated, everything was iced up and feeding in the water was impossible. Still, it was surprising to witness the determined attack on this poor mallard drake, a very one-sided assault that seemed to come out of the blue (at least I hadn’t seen what triggered it) with no attempt whatsoever on the part of the victim to fight back, and both of them scrambling to stay on their feet on the ice. It ended as quickly as it started when the attacker just turned away and slithered gingerly back to the watching group off mixed ducks.

Click on the images for larger view.




12 thoughts on “Seasonal stress?

    • Yes, Chris, I agree. I felt so sorry for the duck under attack. But after it was all over he just meandered over and joined the rest of the flock. And yes, it was cold that day!


  1. I ‘ve seen this behavior with other types of ducks usually during breeding season. This obviously isn’t that season and your assessment that the ice was takeover the feeding area right. Great series of the events, I especially like #8 showing off the wing flaps.
    Thanks for visiting my blog!


    • Yes, i kind of expect the behavior during breeding season. Perhaps migration stresses out some individuals more than others… 🙂 #8 is my favorite too. After putting so much energy into getting sharp images I find I’ve developed a taste for motion and creative blurs, which I find can interpret a scene more along the lines I like but tends to be more challenging to get right…
      And you’re welcome, you have some lovely images.

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