I dedicate this page to the momma mallards who normally have most of the responsibility for the energized ducklings who break free from the egg shells. The last page will highlight specific body parts.
Female mallards are so good-looking that even the males morph to look like them during the year (photos of this are in the time progression: ducklings-to-mallards section of the website). The difference between the males and females and among each of the females is the color of the bill. Between the bills and the number of ducklings, I was usually able to determine if the duck I photographed was a "regular" or one new to the area.
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This momma has five ducklings. One is in the water in front of her while the other four are under her which is why she looks so big.
Nothing like having mom sit on your head to help keep you warm and safe from predators your first few days out of the egg.
This momma has a very orange bill.
This mom has an orange bill with scattered dark splotches on it.
This mom has only has a very thin section of orange at the bottom edge of her bill. The rest is nearly black except for the tip which is close in color to that of male mallards.
This momma has a greyish bill with dark speckles.
Close view of a female mallard's bill with the irregular-shaped dark spots on the lighter background.
Different momma which I knew moreso because of the age and number of ducklings as this one's bill pattern is similar to the one in the prior photo.
This momma has a distinctive light-colored patch just behind her eye.
In 2014 I saw one mother mallard who chased off another mallard with newborn ducklings so her much larger duckling could get the food in the area. In 2015 I saw this pair of mother mallards who may have been related because not only were they peaceful with each other, it seemed as if the new mom with the ducklings on the hillside was showing the other mother (who's much larger ducklings were on the other side of the channel) her new kids, "Look what I made!"
In spring 2017 I saw this momma mallard who seemed to have a white patch on the back of her neck.
Only after examining the photos did I realize the white color was underneath feathers exposed because something took a chunk out of the back of her head-neck.
I spliced two side-view photos to show the unnatural shape of her head when compared the other momma mallards on this page.
All photos © S. M. Garver