This page and the next show wing growth. The fifth page documents eclipse plumage changes which happen each year in the male mallards.

Page 3 of 5
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This duckling is less than two weeks old.
[One ducking stands upright in the water and shakes its little wings which aren't much longer than its bill.]

I often saw ducklings stretching their head forward (to left in this photos) while the wing muscles went upward.
[Two ducklings sit in the grass. The one in the foreground looks to be lying on the ground with its head stretched to the left and its wing muscle stretched straight to the sky with a flat top to it (like a platform being raised on a lift). There are no feathers at this point; its all fuzz. The other duckling sits facing away from the camera.]

Folding those little wings in after doing some stretching in the water.
[One duckling on the water at a diagonal to the camera. Its underfeathers on its back look to be quite wet. The wing feather area (only a few feathers have grown) is a bit blurry as it folds the wings back on its back.]

This duckling is stretching as far as it can, but that's all the longer the wings are at this point.
[Back view of a duckling standing in the water with its lower end completely submerged. It has both wings outstretched to the sides, but its head extends further from its body than the wings do.]

The same stretching pose as in the second photo only on an older duckling.
[One duckling lays its belly across the water as it stretches its head to the right and stretches its wings vertically. In this image the all brown of the previous image has became white in the wing post area and there are strips of white and dark blue amid the short brown feathers at the top. ]

This duckling has already begun growing the bluish stubs of the flight feathers. Its the same age as the duckling in the prior photo.
[One duckling stands in the water facing the camera with its wings stretched behind him. The muscle of the wing is clearly seen but hanging from it are fine, straw-like pieces from which the start of the feathers is visible.]

Although small, the wings are starting to fill in and create a cape when it stretches like this.
[From a side back view we see one ducking standing upright in the water with its wings stretched to the side. Although the tips of the wings still do not extend as far from the body as the head, there are now feathers all along the edge of the wing.]

The flight feathers are filling in, but still quite a ways to go.
[One duck in the grass and one in the water, both with their backs to the camera, are stretching their wings. At the end of the brown is a row of white then one of dark blue and then another row of white. Gaps are visible between the feathers.]

Continue to page 4 for more wing growth and adult molting.

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