When I first saw the Maned Wood Duck family down near the dam there were five ducklings. The next sighting wasn’t until a week later; they were waddling up the track towards the other dam, so on open ground — and I could only see three babies.
But now the parents have brought the family into the house yard — and there is only one little duckling left. Late last summer, when the pair first ventured into my yard, they had a young duck, a teenager, with them. Maybe it was one of a larger brood to begin with too.
Now the trio are hanging about my cabin, feeding, seeking shade, not moving away when I go up and down the steps to the verandah. In fact, they are using the steps as well, judging from the deposits left behind.
The duckling is as fluffy and cute as a duckling can be, with quaint antics like standing on one leg, stretching the other out behind and shaking it as if part of a dance routine
They also like sitting under the massive fountain of my banksia rose which sweeps to the ground and makes a dim cool cubby for a duck family with one precious child to protect. I wish them luck.
P.S. Since I wrote this, the parents have been in the yard several times — unaccompanied. I am afraid my good wishes were not enough to save the last duckling from its fate.