Fresh Ducklings and Growing Goslings in Morningside Park

On the move

Nine fresh-hatched ducklings, the adorable consequences of April’s disturbing displays of duck sexuality, are eagerly exploring the little pond  in Morningside Park.

Turtles, too, are out in force in today’s heat, basking and swimming.

Soaking up the sun

Lolling in the water

These are red-eared sliders, a non-native species that used to be sold for a dime or a quarter in Woolworth’s.  Who knew, in those benighted days, that the adorable inch-long hatchlings could live up to 35 years and grow to more than a foot in length?

So what happened when they outgrew the ubiquitous little plastic bowls with the miniature palm tree in the middle? Well, many were dumped in park ponds all over the city, where their descendants are thriving.

Morningside Pond is home to several turtle species, including flesh-eating snapping turtles. Here’s hoping the snappers steer clear of the succulent little morsels that make up the duckling flotilla.

The duck babies are truly tiny.  Compare this little fellow to a floating pigeon feather:

or these siblings to blades of grass:

But they’ll grow swiftly. Just a few weeks ago, the gosling quartet looked very much like the duckling nonet:

First day goslings

Then they grew just a little

until they started losing their yellow baby markings

With wings like flippers, she's going nowhere fast

and became today’s ungainly prehistoric beasties

Gawky pre-teen

They appear to be starting to molt, losing their downy fluff in preparation for actual feathers. I was surprised to see the neon-bright, sky-blue patch on their still-ineffectual wings. You can just make it out in the photos.

The awkward age

The goslings’ necks are starting to lengthen, too. Maybe one day, they’ll be worthy of Bird Neck Appreciation Day, just like their parents.

No gosling strays far from this beady eye

Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, Birds, In the City, June, Morningside Park, NYC Parks, Wildlife/Natural History

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9 Comments on “Fresh Ducklings and Growing Goslings in Morningside Park”


  1. […] more on dabbling ducks in New York: Sex and the City Bird Fresh Ducklings and Growing Goslings in Morningside Park NYC Mallards Court on […]


  2. […] The stretched-out neck of one of the male Mallards is a behavior called ‘steaming’ and is one of many Mallard courtship displays. The ducks are already pairing up in preparation for spring nesting. […]

  3. Margot Says:

    May brought the return of ever entertaining Jackles who prance and flutter about..the Oriols who have gotten addicted to the humming bird nectar, and robins who are eating all my earth worms….it will be a hoot reading this entertaining blog of the seasonal NYC dance to add to my enjoyment ..hugs…:)

  4. Darlene Says:

    Cute photos! I think we might have had up to 100 ducklings at our lake this season and many of them seem to be doing OK. But, I do know that predators take a lot of them as there has to be some natural control. Otherwise, we would be up to our ears in ducks the following season.

    I “watch over” about two or three ducklings whose moms needed to wake up and realize that they have to watch these little guys all the time. Those two or three are doing OK last I saw them and their moms are being better mothers. I would hate for something to happen to them.

    Got a lot of babies in photograph where they will be immortal until they get accidentally erased, lol.


    • That’s a lot of ducklings. I consider our nine a boon to my nature watching. Apparently they were crossing the street yesterday with Mama, which is not the brightest thing to do in Manhattan.


  5. Loving the littl’uns!
    Big freshwater pike are a common predator of ducklings, goslings and the like over here, but no turtles. The large brood sizes start to make sense at the end of the summer when you see families of birds that were 5, 7 or 9 strong reduced to 2 or 3 at most.

  6. Charlotte Says:

    It’s gonna get mighty crowded in that pond with all those growing babies….where do they go from there?


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