The is the second page showing how the fuzzy little brown and yellow ones grow into their mature colors. Pages 3 and 4 show wing growth and the fifth page documents eclipse plumage changes which happen each year in the male mallards.
Page 2 of 5
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This duckling is four weeks old. The yellow down has disappeared and feathers have begun growing.
Tail feathers are visible in this image and are among the first larger feathers to grow on a duckling.
Feathers are growing in on the front end of the ducklings, but the back end is still fuzzy.
The little white lines in the middle of their bodies are the start of the flight feathers.
A bit more of the flight feathers are visible.
This girl and her siblings might look like a full-grown mallards, but they still have yet to grow all the back feathers necessary for flight.
A closer view of developing flight feathers. Only a bit of blue has grown.
More blue is visible.
These growing ducklings have a full strip of blue, but they were still walkers only at this point.
(I know that because mom was flying across parking lots and traffic while these ones walked.)
All photos © S. M. Garver