Photograph by Anthony Peritore
Despite a relatively sheltered city upbringing, six of the ducklings were lost, felled by predators, the elements, and other dangers. According to experts, such losses are normal for a brood of this size.
Here, the four remaining ducklings feed from a tray set out in the courtyard. After the mother made an attempt to take her ducklings across a busy intersection one evening, staff members discovered that she had been fed at her nearby nesting site and was trying to return there. In order to keep the ducks from heading into the street, Curry began putting out food for them. City Wild Life, one of the organizations advising the Society on duck care, provided special food that is served in a shallow tray of water, a method that teaches the ducklings how to eat as they would in a pond.
After a particularly busy late April weekend at National Geographic headquarters, the mother duck relocated her four remaining ducklings several blocks away to Lafayette Square, a national park near the White House, where they appear to be adapting quite well.