Sharon Buck sent this picture, with the following note, in response to Tuesday’s story about the drought-related decline in breeding ducks:
“We live on a man-made lake in north Stockton and have noticed a large decrease in ducks this year as well. Few females and they are usually chased/attacked by two males most of the time.
“On Sunday for the very first time this young momma was carrying her babies on her back. Never have seen babies ride on Mom’s back before. My husband has lived here for twenty years and not witnessed this.
“She’s right to do this since the big-mouth bass in the lake will surface and eat them from below. Don’t have a clue if she’s genetically capable of knowing this.”
Record outdoors writer Pete Ottesen also weighed in, downplaying the decline in breeders.
“Locally produced ducks make up a very low percentage (less than 8 percent) of the total waterfowl that winter here,” he wrote. “Remember, our state is an important wintering area on the Pacific Flyway and not much of a breeding area.”
Conditions are, in fact, ripe for the biggest continental fall flight since 1955, he said.