They say love has no boundaries. Well, this story is the perfect proof for that. Laurie Wolf, an artist and photographer put with her family nesting boxes around her backyard. Wolf was inspecting her birdhouses till she noticed something surprising in her backyard. A mother duck moving out of her nesting box.
“The mother duck removed the egg from one of our nesting boxes and flew toward this other box with it in her bill,” said Laurie. “We believe that the duck moved the egg because that nest had been raided – there were eggshells at the bottom of the pine tree where the box is.”
“A day or so after we saw that, a screech owl moved into that box.”
You won’t believe what happened next, Laurie saw the duckling and the owl together in the birdhouse. “Seeing the owl with the duckling was honestly the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life! It’s still hard to believe.”
“I’m sure the owl hatched the duck egg because she was in the box with it for a whole month,” said Laurie.
It’s all fun and games but the photographer worried that the owl might eat the duckling during the fact the owls are predators. Laurie didn’t hesitate and called an ornithologist and lucky she did. It turns out that Laurie isn’t the only good human being in the area because a wildlife sanctuary was happy to take care of the duckling. Laurie tried to catch it but the little duck escaped.
Laurie updated on Facebook, “A bit later, the baby duck was in the hole by itself, calling for the parents. “We believe they heard each other because it suddenly left the box and made a beeline for the back fence and our neighbor’s pond where the woodies have been hanging out”.
“Also, we had seen a female wood duck – about three or four weeks ago, remove a duck egg from a box that had been raided by something, and fly off toward this box with it.”
“We lost it in the trees and didn’t want to disturb it. But we believe she put it in this box and the owl hatched it.”
It was the last time that Laurie and her family saw the duckling. “The pond nearby is on our neighbor’s property and is very hidden.”
It is rare but known that wood ducks live with eastern screech owls, according to National Geographic. The director of Bird Studies Canada, Christian Artuso was studying eastern screech owls and made similar observation. “It’s not commonly documented, but it certainly happens,” he said.
One of the characteristics of wood ducks is laying eggs in a foreign nest. They normally do it in another wood duck’s nest or in similar species nests. “You could think of it as not keeping all your eggs in one basket,” said Artuso. “If you spread your eggs out, then your chances of passing on your genes are increased slightly, especially if you lose your own eggs to a predator.”
The director concluded: “We know this occurs, but we really don’t know the frequency,” “So I was happy to see another example of this.”