Washougal, WA, United States
This mother Mallard at Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge successfully defended her ducklings against a mink attack by swimming rapidly around the mink, quacking loudly and beating her wings against the water, thus distracting the mink and enabling her ducklings to escape. The mink retreated and the ducklings were soon reunited with their mother.
She quite literally put her own life at risk. She could well be on the menu herself!
Yes, very admirable behavior on the part of Mother Mallard!
Did you see this coming from the beginning? And how did it end up? Always amazing to witness something like that.
I had photographed this Mallard and her 6 ducklings earlier, then walked on along the trail. Shortly later I met another photographer who showed me photos he had taken of her with only 5 ducklings. He also mentioned that he had seen a mink in the pond. Thinking that things might get interesting back at the pond, I returned just in time to take a series of photos of this interaction, of which this was the best. So, it may be that the mink was successful earlier, but mother Mallard had figured out a defense when the mink returned. At the conclusion of this attempt, the mink retreated into the vegetation and I did not see it again. I remained there for a half hour or so observing the Mallard and ducklings as they resumed feeding in a normal manner.
Very brave mother duck!
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