Female duck change of behaviour

Asked March 15, 2020, 6:21 PM EDT

I recently moved to a place on a pond and have loads of Mallards who live here. I have a porch and they come up and sleep here during the summer. I’ve managed to make friends with a few of these little guys and they’ve become regulars. Mainly this couple who have been coming up for 6 months together So recently, at the end of February. The female mallard stopped coming up but the male was still around. I didn’t see her for a week or so, until she returned recently. She’s changed massively. I understand it’s mating period and was just wondering if he behaviour is normal. She doesn’t walk as slowly and gracefully anymore. She seems like she’s in a rush all the time. Her posture has changed to her head being very low down on her body, almost like she’s ducking all the time (no pun intended) and she makes a constant quacking noise with her mouth wide open all the time. Especially when males approach her, she gets very quacky! She comes up for her food and then leaves almost immediately. She always used to hang around and interact but now she feeds and leaves. Then I can see her cleaning herself like a maniac all the time and off she goes to her little island. Is this normal behaviour for a duck during the mating season? I want to understand what she’s doing. It’s fascinating. At first I was worried she was injured as she kept cleaning her tummy. But she seems fine. And now one of the other female ducks is acting exactly the same. So they’re currently sitting on my decking together, rushing through their food and quacking like maniacs! Please tell me more! I’ve linked a picture of her posture... she literally does that all the time and quacks at the same time repeatedly. Many thanks!

Outside United States poultry wildlife waterfowl

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