Recently, artist and photographer Laurie Wolf came upon an unusual scene in her yard while inspecting her various bird houses: an owl next to a duckling.
Laurie lives in Jupiter, Florida with her family. They have several nesting boxes of different bird species in their backyard.
One day, to her surprise, the American noticed that a carolina-duck mother moved one of her eggs from her nest box to another. “We thought she moved him because her nest had been invaded – there were egg shells in the bottom of the box,” he told The Bored Panda.
The next day, after witnessing this fact, Laurie saw an owl move to the box where the eggs used to be. A month later, a little duck appeared next to his “foster mother.”
“Seeing the owl with the duckling was, honestly, the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen! It’s still hard to believe, “Laurie said. “I’m sure the owl hatched the egg because it was in the box with him for a whole month,” she added.
Although the scene is very cute, Laurie was worried that the predatory owl could eat the duckling.
Contacting a bird specialist, his fears were confirmed. A wildlife sanctuary agreed to take care of the ducklings if Laurie could capture them.
However, as she tried to rescue him, the animal jumped out of the nest and ran to a nearby lake, on a neighboring property.
In the social network Facebook, Laurie added that the duck started to make noise, probably crying out for help from his parents. They must have heard because they suddenly stepped out of their box into Laurie’s backyard and headed straight for a fence in the back toward the nearby lake.
The American and her family have not seen the duckling since. “The lake is on our neighbor’s property and is very hidden,” she said.
Carolina ducks and borrowed nests
A duck being hatched by an owl may seem totally bizarre, but this is not the only case we are aware of. According to National Geographic, carolina-ducks have been recorded living with owls in the past.
“It’s not commonly documented, but it certainly happens.” “Explained Christian Artuso, director of Bird Studies Canada, who made a similar observation in 2005 while studying owls for his doctorate.
It is known that the carolina-ducks practice parasitism of young. This means that they sometimes put an egg or two in the nest of another creature, whether it be another carolina-ducks or some other related species.
The idea, according to Artuso, is to ensure the species’ perpetuation: “If you spread your eggs, your chances of transmitting your genes increase a little, especially if you lose your own eggs to a predator.”
According to the scientist, although the practice is known, its frequency is not. “So I was happy to see another example,” he concluded.