Horrors at the Park

I visited a beautiful park early Friday evening, taking a stroll past the pond. I stopped and smiled as a sweet mallard duck mother and her fuzzy babies floated by. The babies were even smaller than the ones in the photo below and I noted how zippy they were, darting around in the water and hurrying to keep up with Mom. And they stayed right by her side, almost touching her if possible. Truly a heart-warming scene which was ruined shortly thereafter by something I’ll never forget.

As you can imagine there were other animals about – some turtles on nearby rocks, geese, various birds, and other mallard ducks. Suddenly a group of four mallard males rushed upon the mother in the water. They began pecking at her and one of them got behind and on top of her – I’m sure you can guess what he wanted. The mother began quacking loudly in distress, and the babies scattered, but then regrouped a few feet away. Their high-pitched chirping indicated confusion and fear as their mother was driven further away.

The mallard males were so determined they forced the mother to the edge of the pond and onto land. They didn’t even care I was a few feet away – they continued to torment her, biting and gang raping this poor mother. I wondered where the father was? The mother kept trying to get away, making wild sounds and flapping her wings, but as she tried to lift off in flight they would surround her and pin her down. I yelled at them and waved my hands around, advancing towards the feathery fight. It was so crazy that another family stopped next to me to watch and a gentleman ran into the scene and kicked his foot around, finally breaking up the ducks so the mother could fly off. But it still didn’t end. The four ruthless males took off and chased her in the air. You could hear the mother shrieking.

By this time I was quite upset – afraid for the mother’s life, and what would happen to her little ones. They were huddled in the pond, still disoriented and crying. You could see them looking towards the sky and around the pond – where is our mother? What I found extraordinarily special was that a lone female duck swam to the little ones and seemed to act as their temporary mother. The babies instantly took to her for protection and she led them underneath a weeping willow tree not far from where I stood.

Overhead, the mother duck was still being pursued by the vicious male pack. She eventually made a beeline for the pond. Two female ducks swam to her aid, one on each side of her. They headed straight for the babies under the willow tree. Three of the male ducks gave up the chase but one stayed behind the female duck trio, following closely but not making any moves. As Mom reached her babies there were happy duck noises and they immediately moved to her side. Altogether the mom, her babies, and the three other females withdrew from the willow tree’s sanctuary and traveled across the pond together with the one male still in their wake. I lingered for a while, still hesitant to leave, but then had to trust that the female power trio would be enough to help mom  ward off horny, foul fowl. I left feeling sad, angry, and just plain disturbed. And then I thought about how these kinds of horrors happen in nature all the time, with even worse endings. It’s a cruel world out there.

To make matters worse, as I made my way to the car, a human fight broke out over a parking issue and it escalated to a point that I feared someone would pull out a gun at any time. People were hiding nearby or quickly making getaways – afraid for their safety. Punches were thrown and blood spilled, but one stranger stayed to help resolve the issue, and so no police were involved. What started out as a lovely evening turned sour, but in both cases I witnessed outsiders stepping in to help out. So there’s the silver lining.

Also for Mother’s Day my mother let me know she wants us to visit this same park. I haven’t told her this story yet but I do want to go back and see if this sweet duck family is still there and hopefully at peace.  ❤

mallard-babies-mother

Photo credit: LivingWilderness.com

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15 thoughts on “Horrors at the Park

    • It warmed my heart! I went back to the same park yesterday for Mother’s Day and everything was peaceful. I saw a mother with some ducklings but I don’t think it was the same one since there weren’t as many babies with her and they appeared larger.

      • I know, I did some research like yourself and it’s pretty crazy what I found out. Not only is the schlong large but it’s shaped like a corkscrew! That’s right, I did a google image search. 😀 Some other interesting facts:

        – it’s not uncommon to see 6-8 males chasing a female in flight, becoming violent, and even resulting in the female’s death from being smothered or drowning

        -there is a significant skew in the sex ratio in Mallards in favor of males, thus all the extra males flying around trying to find a mate and forcing copulation

        -there are records of up to 39 males (called drakes) chasing and repeatedly trying to copulate with a single mallard hen

        -females will occasionally copulate with a male that is NOT their mate if the male is of higher quality, higher on the pecking order, etc. so they have better genes for their offspring and access to new food territory – but the females still resist vigorously

  1. A riveting tale, Lauren. Glad mom had help getting back to the kids. This is the perfect story to illustrate the merciless cycles of nature. No matter our claims of humanity, we are also true to our beasty nature. We used to fight for survival but now parking spots occupy our desire for conquest and alpha status. Thank the great omnipotent one for power girls. They are the only thing keeping the planet in balance. Well, self elimination from the gene pool is also a bonus.

    • After reading up on mallard ducks it seems to be a normal, common thing although it still disturbs me. Wild things, all of us! I went back to the same park with my family yesterday and it took forever to find a damn parking spot. But we sucked it up and set aside our inner beast for another day.

      • After reading through the comments, I know more about ducks than I probably ever planned to. That schlong thing. I suppose if human males had cork screws we’d need wings too. What a freakin nightmare that would be during daily commutes and concerts. 😬

  2. I saw something like this recently myself, 3 onto one, its hardly the sort of thing one expects! I really do feel inclined to intervene in these outrages, I think I would have done if I could, but the ones I saw went off downstream fighting out of reach.

    Hope your next trip to the park is more agreeable! At least the outcome of all that is cute chicks, its like living in the storage sometimes round here too!! XX

    • You would have been my hero. ❤ Thank you, my family and I went to the same park yesterday for Mother's Day and everything seemed groovy. I saw a mother duck with babies but I don't think it was the same one. Those fuzzy babes are the cutest. 🙂

      I think part of the horror was just thinking all my life how adorable and innocent ducks seemed and then I witnessed something unthinkable.

    • I had no clue. Of course googling “forced duck sex” led to all sorts of interesting discoveries. It’s common to see some balding on females’ necks and that’s because the males will clamp onto it with their beak during forced sex. 😦 There’s an epic battle of the sexes going on here with male and female genitalia evolving over time into incredibly elaborate, err…puzzle pieces. The males need to get the job done and the females want to resist in order to ward off disease and choose who to copulate with. Anyway now I can quit my job and become a duck sexpert!

      It was so comforting to see the females bonding. I’ll never forget it.

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