AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (Anas rubripes)
The American black duck is a large duck of the dabbling type – i.e. finding its food on the water rather than in – and similar in appearance to the mallard female, but darker. American black ducks interbreed with mallards.
The photo of ‘Lucy’ below shows her on her nest. She’s become a celebrity of sorts in the world of mama ducks. Every year she comes back to make her nest at the SuperStore Garden Center in Charlottetown. She probably figured out her eggs, and ducklings, would be better protected there from predators. The store staff provide her with a ‘security barrier’ to keep onlookers at a safe distance. Then when her ducklings are ready to make the trip to the nearest water – a marsh -, traffic is stopped on University Avenue (the main street) to help the family reach its destination safely.
In the spring of 2017 Ducks Unlimited has installed a web cam at the above location when Lucy came back and nested in the same garden center. This way it will be possible to know when her ducklings hatch and make their journey across the main street to the marsh.
(She’s not the only ‘wild’ bird using human-built structures to make a nest and have a family, as there are reports from other cities where this is happening too, like here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/duck-leads-ducklings-on-annual-waddle-through-schools-halls/
You can read on Lucy here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/lucy-duck-charlottetown-garden-centre-1.3628219 .
UPDATE ON JUNE 6, 2017: Lucy has now successfully brought her ducklings to the nearby marsh across the street this morning, with the help of police and other dedicated people. Unfortunately, out of the six ducklings one was not following its family, so its fate is uncertain.
The video above shows a group of American black ducks at the mouth of the Government pond in the Charlottetown harbour, near Carriage House at the start of the Victoria Park boardwalk.