Photo gallery: Fourteen little ducklings set up camp in Thorpe End garden

The fourteen ducklings which were hatched in Beryl Jones garden in Thorpe End. Picture: Denise Bradley The fourteen ducklings which were hatched in Beryl Jones garden in Thorpe End. Picture: Denise Bradley

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
7:00 AM

Getting your “ducks in a row” is something that we all try to do.

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The fourteen ducklings which were hatched in Beryl Jones garden in Thorpe End, pictured following Beryl as they wait for some food. Picture: Denise BradleyThe fourteen ducklings which were hatched in Beryl Jones garden in Thorpe End, pictured following Beryl as they wait for some food. Picture: Denise Bradley

But the task is particularly tough for Beryl Jones, who has 14 ducklings waddling around her garden – the fluffy offspring of Charles and Camilla.

Her back garden pond at Thorpe End, near Norwich, has become a well-used home to a variety of the city’s wildlife over the years, including frogs, insects and dragonflies.

But now, these cute ducklings have made it their base, getting comfortable in a nest hidden around its edge.

Plumstead Road resident Mrs Jones has lived at the house for 16 years and said she was surprised to see the visitors two weeks ago.

Duck facts

• All types of ducks are part of the bird family Anatidae.

• There are species of ducks found worldwide on every continent except Antarctica.

• A baby duck is called a duckling, and an adult male is a drake and an adult female duck is called a hen or a duck.

• A group of ducks can be called a raft, team or paddling.

• A duck’s feathers are so waterproof that even when the duck dives underwater, its downy underlayer of feathers will stay completely dry.

• Ducklings are able to walk and leave the nest just a few hours after hatching.

• A hen will lead her ducklings up to a half mile or more over land after hatching in order to find a suitable water source for swimming and feeding.

• Most duck species are monogamous for a breeding season but they do not mate for life.

• When constructing her nest, a hen will line it with soft feathers she plucks from her own breast to give the eggs the best possible cushioning and insulation.

• Ducks are omnivorous and will things such as eat grass, aquatic plants, insects, seeds, fruit, fish and crustaceans.

• A duck’s bill is specialised to help it forage in mud and to strain food from the water.

• Ducks have been domesticated as pets and farm animals for more than 500 years.

• Two famous fictional ducks are Disney’s Donald Duck, who premiered in 1934, and Warner Bros’ Daffy Duck, who premiered in 1937.

“We’ve always had a pair of visiting ducks, of which one is a drake, and this year we spotted them in our garden early,” she said. “But they disappeared.”

And Mrs Jones has become so used to seeing the duo that she nicknamed them Charles and Camilla.

“When the mother duck returned I was not aware that she had a nest and we cannot see one, but it is somewhere around the pond.

“When I woke up two weeks ago I was surprised to see there were 15 little ducklings. Unfortunately, we have lost one but they are gorgeous and absolutely lovely.”

The ducklings are now starting to find their webbed feet and have already ventured into neighbouring gardens. Mrs Jones believed that they would be flying in just 10 weeks’ time.

“They are here most of the time still and are enjoying the sunshine.”

Have you had an unusual visitor arrive at your home? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 693892, email donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @donnaloubishop.

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