Photos: Hen Mallard Rescues Duckling from Heron

Our friends at GoHUNTn spotted this harrowing battle between heron and hen over the life of a mallard duckling. As author Brian McClintock explains:

Photographer Paul Hughes was at Herbert Park in Dublin, Ireland, when he saw a hungry heron, unable to fish thanks to some flooding. But, the bird of prey found some new forage: a mallard duckling. The duckling tried to hide in a cage, but could not avoid the heron’s evil clutches.

The heron just about had the duckling swallowed when mama mallard swooped in.

Did the duckling survive? I'd like to believe so, but hey, predation is something ducks must contend with. In fact, the duckling mortality rate is responsible for about 14 percent of the annual change in the U.S. mallard population. In other words, a lot of ducklings are eaten by hungry predators every year, especially in times of drought. Herons are not the top duckling-eater, however; that title belongs to the mink.

For more photos of the wild incident visit GoHUNTn or see the original story at the Daily Mail.

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4 Responses to Photos: Hen Mallard Rescues Duckling from Heron

Kyle Wintersteen wrote:
May 18, 2012

You guys won't let me get away with anything, will you? You're correct. The photographer captured images of a heron *and* a gull both trying to score a duckling snack. Thanks for reading and I apologize for the confusion.

sean wrote:
May 18, 2012

This is dumb! One pic is a night heron and the other is a seagull

david wrote:
May 18, 2012

Yeah I agree^^^ gull n heron r two completely different birds in the photos....

Levi Banks wrote:
May 15, 2012

Those pictures are of two different birds, I think the heron ate the bird, but the gull did not.