Ducklings 2020

During the winter season, most wildlife and vegetation is in stand-by. Plants and animals are prepared for saving energy as good as possible to survive the cold season, as we have it in Austria.

Spring time, on the contrary, is the time of nature’s reawakening. Every year it is a pleasure to see the first buds and flowers growing and the hours with daylight increasing.

In the animal kingdom, it is also the time for reproduction. From late March onward, more and more animals are having their younger generations. Ducks and other water-loving birds are among them. The river Danube in Linz is an excellent place for these animals to raise their hatch. Plenty of food (mostly insects, seeds, slugs and grass) as well as open areas with a good overview, but also protected niches behind rocks are available for them.

This year, I was able to have a glimpse into two mallard duck families with their ducklings. I went out one morning in early May to take photos of birds, as I saw a female mallard duck sitting amidst the Danube beach. Beside her was the male mallard duck. I quickly realized that the mother duck looked „wider“ than usual. At the second glance I realized, that she had been huddling a couple of ducklings, keeping them warm and comfortable. That was truly adorable.

Luckily I had the right equipment with me and took the chance to carefully approach them, without disturbing them. With 600 mm of focal length on an APS-C camera, you can already operate from a safe distance to the birds. This is what I did, laying on the ground, getting muddy and soaked with Danube water. Id was a good choice to do so. As I was photographing, the ducklings became more and more trusting in this strange creature barely moving (me). They gradually started approaching me and eventually passed me in a distance of not more than half a meter. At that point, I was not photographing any more (the minimum focussing distance was about 3 m). I was just laying there, observing the little ducklings chirping and catching insects while passing me. Their parents took good care of them and watched every single of my moves.

Later that day, I came back and witnessed another adorable scene. The ducklings were gathering at a place and one after the other fell asleep. I was able to thake another image of that as well.

Watching and photographing them made my day. Its the small things and moments that enrich our lives.