The runaway duckling – a tiny tale

Mama Duck was not having a good day or even a good week for that matter. Only a week ago, she had been ecstatic because her eggs were finally hatching!
While she attended to her hungry newborns, her attention was momentarily diverted when the last egg hatched. And the last duckling imprinted on Mama Hen instead and followed her everywhere.
Mama Duck couldn’t stand it that one of her own ducklings thought that Mama Hen was its mother. Even worse was that smug look on Mama Hen’s face.
So Mama Duck now spends the best part of everyday chasing after her runaway duckling, quaking as loud as she could,
“Get back here, you little duck! I am your Mama. SHE ISN’T!”.

(definitely less than 150 words)

This tiny tale was written in response to the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #133 hosted by Crispina Kemp. The challenge is to write something creative in 150 words or less based on the given photo prompt. Thank you, Crispina for hosting the CCC challenge.

For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a mother duck that seems to be following one of its ducklings.

Did you know that some species of baby birds such as ducks, geese, and turkeys begin the process of imprinting shortly after hatching so that they follow the appropriate adult, providing them with safety. Imprinting is the process wherein these babies think that the first big animal they see immediately after hatching is their own mother, follow their “mom” everywhere and depend on her for food, warmth, love and protection.

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© 2021 Shweta Suresh. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy: Crispina Kemp

34 thoughts on “The runaway duckling – a tiny tale

      1. According to my research, there have been instances when ducklings have accidentally imprinted on humans instead of their mothers. The only solution is to leave them with their actual mothers and get away from that place without them noticing! Then, apparently the imprinting can be reversed. Unlike a Wolf’s. Wait, wasn’t that werewolf’s? Do wolves imprint too? Looks like I’ve got to Google it up.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m used to calling werewolves as wolves too. My bad!

        But, it seems wolves and a few higher mammals can imprint too. I didn’t know ducklings can imprint until I read your post. I went on to browse, and found this article – Wolf Imprinting… Myth or Reality? This might help.

        I enjoyed your detailing about reversing the imprint. Thanks for that!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I didn’t know that ducks could imprint too. But then I watched an episode of Modern Family that showed the ducklings imprinting on one of the lead characters. I’ll definitely check it out. That detail was a little something I learned during the research for this post. 🙂 Happy to know that you found it entertaining!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I have read about imprinting. The new born babies following the first animal or may be even human they see. I wonder how many odd pairings we can see if the babies actually follow someone else than their mothers.

    Liked by 1 person

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