The Mallards that decided to spend their winter with us seem to know that our duck hunting season is, for all practical purposes, over. (Licensed falconers, of which there are few here, still may hunt ducks with their birds of prey.) The ducks are coming back into ponds and closer to shore, and not always paying enough attention to their runways during our present thaw-freeze-snow-thaw cycles.


The Mallards come barreling in, sometimes with a splash (see the image above) and sometimes with a comical fluttering skid past their mate (see the image below).


Mallards’ legs are set back farther than those of many belly flopping birds, which gives them a tipsiness when erect on ice, as well as that distinctive Mallard waddle when on land. (Brooklin, Maine)