Several years ago a brighter than your average female Mallard Duck realised that our pet ducks had a good thing going. As winter set in she joined our ducks on the ponds during the day and when we called them in and they set off down the path for food and shelter from the perils of the night she flew away.
After a week or two she started to leave the pond and walk with the other ducks but as buildings, dog and humans came into view she would fly off. Gradually she got closer before she fled and one night she came in fed and spent the night in warmth and safety.
She did this for 2 or 3 years. Like all our ducks she was free to leave and fly away every day but secure every night. She mated with the male (Drake) Call Ducks and hatched 8 special AC crossbreeds.
Over the years the flock has reduced, by natural wastage, from a maximum of 15 ducks ....mainly due to foxes. At the beginning of last winter we were left with just 4 ACs drakes. After the moult they became stronger flyers and as Spring began they began to fly further looking for mates.
Unlike previous years they eventually all left and have not returned.
Last night one was back.
And he was still here for breakfast which he demanded in his bowl in the yard!