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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mallards and my clueless bird dog

[The hen is incubating a clutch of ten eggs under the fallen pine.
Her head is right under the branch.]

The mallards have split from the flock on De Sabla Reservoir to nest along the flumes.

We encounter two nesting pairs every day when Fred gets his "walkie" along the flume trail.

The ducks were skittish when they were looking for nest sites, and always flushed at our approach.

The commotion usually flustered Fred. 

But I have to credit him for giving chase the one time he seemed to actually see them.

[She covers them with leaves and down when she leaves the nest.]

Now they are setting on eggs, and lie low. 

So we just walk on by. 

I see one hen on the water every day now, and Fred doesn't even notice.

So, what I want to know is this: if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and smells like a duck, why is my half-breed Labrador so clueless about ducks?


Neil said...

We have a pit/lab mix obsessed with cats, squirrels, mice, bees, blowing plastic bags, shorebirds, turkey, deer, flies, turtles, lizards etc.

Couldn't give a flying eff about the hundreds of ducks and geese we see on daily walks in the arboretum. Go figure...

Frogman said...

Well, from his previous behavior that you've mentioned, I'd guess his border collie herding genes are just more dominant...

Or maybe he just hasn't realized yet that duck poo can be just as tasty as turkey turds?

Cougarmagic said...

You could start a new breed! The Northwestern Camera Trapping Dog...(or in German, the einfangen-hund). With a nose that can distinguish 50 types of scat and scent lure, he remembers where you put your camera even when you don't, and holds a "point" like pose that helps you frame the shot! Needs wide open spaces, and does not do well in a city environment.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks, guys. I love it! The surprises of genetics and a new breed of dog. What next?

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