Wildlife photographer Laurie Wolf discovered this odd pair in her backyard in Jupiter, Florida: An adult eastern screech owl and a yellow-and-black duckling.
It was quite surprising to see them with each other. In fact, she found it unbelievable.
Out of concern that the chick could be at risk of coming to be a meal for its surrogate mom, Wolf called a regional bird professional who verified that her issues were reasonable.
Sadly, her attempts to catch the chick and place it with a regional wildlife shelter were unsuccessful.
However this story is not as straight forward as it may seem. It could be said that the predatory screech owl is the actual victim right here, not the chick.
See, the chick belongs to the wood duck species, a types classified as a brood parasite.
Simply put, it is a bird types that actively tries to get other types of birds to increase their young. It takes advantage of gullible birds to leave increasing its own chicks!
No one knows why various other birds bother to take care of chicks that aren’t their own. We have no concept if they also realize these chicks are a various types.
We do know that brood parasites use “protection noise” type tactics: If you decline their egg, the chances are good they will wreck your nest, damaging your biological offspring prior to they can hatch.
Cue Godfather design implied threats, like “It would certainly be a shame if something happened to your eggs, know what I suggest.”
So types that go along with raising the brood parasite eggs survive much better than those that do not cooperate.
It’s a forest out there– even in North American backyard nests.