‘She gets up once or twice a day to rotate the eggs and stretch her legs’

Camden law firm watches over mother duck as she readies for her brood

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:45pm

CAMDEN — Staff members at Camden Law have a lot on their plates. Business is booming, despite a pandemic, but perhaps even more importantly, a mother duck has been nesting outside one wing of their building, and they have become mother hens themselves, watching over her.

Now the town’s public works department is in on the operations, placing traffic cones there to outline and protect the duck’s territory.

They’ve named her Stella, and she was discovered May 4 when contractors were at the office to put a new roof on that wing of the building. They immediately noticed her.

“Once a duck is nesting, there is no moving her (everyone in the office has quickly become armchair experts in duck gestation), so they quickly put up a lean-to in order to shield her from the construction, and placed a breathable tarp over that to make it a bit more comfortable for her,” reported Jen Coursey, at Camden Law. “They finished the job quickly and were out of there in record time.”

She posits that Stella may have been drawn to just below her window because that is where she had stationed a bird feeder.

Staff members are checking on Stella every day, and she is doing fine, they report. But it’s not easy being a pregnant duck, let alone nesting in a busy metropolis.

“A week before she started nesting, she and her mallard partner were seen walking around the parking lot, as if checking out potential spots (apparently the father is not seen during this period, but usually meets up with the family once she and the ducklings have made it to the water.)”

The Megunticook River in downtown Camden is a favorite spot for ducks and other wildlife, and they are as much a part of the landscape as pedestrians and cars.

The gestation period for ducks is about 28 days, the staff has researched. So, it naturally falls that a pool is underway in the office on the birth date and number of ducklings.

“She gets up once or twice a day to rotate the eggs and stretch her legs (the term is literally called ‘recess’),” said Coursey. “During one of these times, I was able to sneak a peek, and saw 11 eggs (though this isn’t common knowledge at the office. I don’t want people going in there and changing their bets….)”