Calling all #operationmallard lovelies! I have an update on the current nesting duck on Dad's balcony.

If you just read that and wondered if you were having a Groundhog day moment, you might have missed this thread:
So Dad and I were expecting the current clutch of 9 eggs to hatch on Wednesday. However, he phoned me this morning to say that Momma duck's behaviour ('OG Mrs Mallard' from 2020) has changed today, so they might be hatching earlier than we thought!
He counted the 28 (+/- 1) day incubation period from the first day that she sat for 22 hours on the eggs. However, the day before that she sat for 12 hours, and the weather up there has been really warm and sunny for weeks, so....
... we may be seeing the ducklings today! She is more agitated, standing up a lot and generally behaving like hatching is imminent.

I will obviously keep you posted!
And if you need to catch up on the previous Operation Mallards, you can find the videos on my YouTube channel.
The first one is here:
And the video for the second Operation Mallard, which took place earlier this year, is here:
[KLAXON] First ducklings sighted! It's happening, my lovelies! #operationmallard 3 is a go, I repeat, Operation Mallard 3 is a go!

I thought it wouldn't be as exciting, third time round. Reader, I was so wrong!
Mini update: So it looks like a couple of the ducklings have hatched but are mostly being kept under Mrs Mallard as the rest are still yet to hatch. Dad expects them to hatch over the afternoon.

Whether they need to be lowered in the 'ducket' this afternoon...
... remains to be seen. Dad always takes his lead from the mother, and she might decide to stay put if the last duckling hatches late in the day. They are born with enough fuel, so to speak, for at least 24 hours, so if she waits until dawn tomorrow, they'll all be fine.
Local helpers are on stand-by waiting for Dad's call. I am, again, gutted I can't be there. But if this happens again next year, hopefully I will be able to watch in person.
Another #operationmallard 3 mini-update: More ducklings have hatched, but Mrs Mallard is still sitting tight on the nest, so we think there's still a couple of eggs left to hatch. Some of the first hatched are getting fidgety, but Momma is staying put for now!
Me anxiously waiting for updates on #operationmallard 3 from Dad:
Well, both Dad and I are starting to think that Mrs Mallard and the ducklings are going to spend the night on Dad's balcony and leave tomorrow morning. He said the nest is much more settled now and it's late evening now, so not enough time to find a new home.
So, bless him, he's going to go to bed at 9:30pm tonight and has set his alarm for 4am. (he's already shifted his sleep cycle to be up at dawn for her) I doubt he will sleep well tonight! Or that I will, for that matter!
Good morning my lovelies! I am delighted to tell you that all 9 ducklings and their momma are now safely swimming about in the water after another successful #operationmallard 😀
There was Drama, but I am very busy this morning with work stuff, so I will come back later to tell you the whole story. I just wanted to put you all out of your misery and tell you the happy ending! (Even though my author brain is telling me off for jumping to the end!)
Just in case you're following this thread and haven't seen the latest one, here is the full story of what happened today (I thought this thread was long enough already!)

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More from @EmApocalyptic

22 Jun
#Operationmallard 3 lovelies! Let me tell you how stressful Dad's morning was! Yesterday (21st of June) lots of the ducklings hatched, but Mrs Mallard showed no desire to leave the nest and take the family down to the water. Dad could only count about 6 ducklings at most.
It might have been that the last 2 or 3 eggs hadn't hatched, or she just didn't fancy leaving yet but either way, they all settled down by evening and stayed the night. Dad got up just before 4am, thinking she'd want to leave at dawn, like last year.
But no. She stayed put. Dad waited. Then, to his horror, a group of workmen arrived right at the base of the building and started up a generator! He knew the ducklings would have to go to the water soon, so he went to speak to them...
Read 18 tweets
24 May
Ummmm... #operationmallard lovelies? I have some unexpected news and you might want to get a drink and a blanket. I am quite nervous about telling you all about this, I have to say.

I got this message from my Dad a couple of days ago: Picture of a duck in the pl...
He said he did a proper double-take. He couldn't believe it. It was like Groundhog Day, but with ducks. He was just stumbling to the kitchen first thing in the morning, glanced out the window... and there was a duck there!

He sent back: "Well, it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck... yep, it's a duck 🦆😯"

I phoned him. "Is it Mrs Mallard?" I asked, very worried that she had returned so quickly. Where were the ducklings? What was going on?
Read 21 tweets
4 May
Lovelies, I have an #operationmallard update! A BIG ONE! Pull up a chair, maybe grab a blanket and a cuppa? You're about to get on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster...
I got a message from my Dad at about 8:30am, saying that Operation Mallard 2 was about to begin! I replied, wishing him luck, then he phoned and said he'd seen two tiny little duckling heads peeping out so far. One problem though: the wind.
A storm blew through yesterday with gale force winds and rain. Today it's much sunnier but the wind this morning was still just over 20mph - and 9 floors up, it really whips around the building.
Read 20 tweets
3 May
Good morning, my lovelies. In case you missed it last night, I've put an update video on YouTube all about how Dad is preparing for the big day - he made some footage for you containing cute diagrams! #operationmallard
A few people have asked why he's not just taking them down in the lift. He feels that the bucket approach causes the least distress to Mrs Mallard, makes sure that the maternal bond is preserved and is also the fastest solution.
Using the 'ducket' means that Momma and ducklings can hear each other throughout - which is absolutely critical - and it's only a few seconds of separation. Also far, far less stressful for them than many minutes of trying to corral them all through an alien environment.
Read 4 tweets
1 May
Lovelies, I've just had a chat with Dad and there are a couple of updates I thought you might like if you're following #operationmallard :) First is regarding Mr Mallard as a few of you have asked about him. I've been fixated on Mrs Mallard, so never asked him before!
So Mr Mallard is nearby! He stands on the big white bridge over the canal and they quack at each other! Earlier in the nesting cycle, they saw much more of each other - she lays an egg per day so they had to... do some lovin' daily ;) [feels so British and awkward!]
Once all the eggs were laid, he called for her on most days and they would go off for a bit of time together, when she wasn't off on the razzle with the other ducks who came calling for her. She's quite popular, our Mrs Mallard ;)
Read 8 tweets
28 Apr
Oh. My. Goodness. Okay... errrr... well my tweet thread yesterday about my Dad and #operationmallard seems to have gone viral.

Umm... good morning everyone who's now invested in this story. I shall do my very best to look after you. Just need to finish this cup of tea...
My stream is moving so fast and I am so overwhelmed I can't reply to everyone otherwise my brain will get too fried and I won't be able to do the thing I want to work on today. But please do keep sending your stories about ducks and other birds nesting at your homes!
Honestly, the absolute bestest thing is all the people saying it's brightened their day. YAY! I am so glad! I wish I could make you all a cup of tea (or other comforting beverage of your choice) and give you a hug. #operationmallard updates will have to suffice though!
Read 7 tweets

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