It is a mystery to me why female ducks sit atop pilings in the early morning at the beginning of the breeding season. They don’t do this at other times. I have been watching female mallards do this for a number of weeks this year. But, the behaviour is not confined to mallards. Other years I have seen mergansers and goldeneyes also perch atop pilings, all of them females.
These females do not seem to be seeking a mate. Most have already paired off. Indeed, the mate is often on the water below, and after a while on the piling, she flies down and joins him.
Has this behaviour evolved? There have only been pilings on this lake for less than a century and a half. If, as is likely, the behaviour is ancient, what previous structure has been supplanted by the convenience of wooden pilings? (Ducks cannot perch on the conically topped metal pilings.)
Who knows the purpose of this behaviour?
Now is the brief season of female mallards perching atop pilings.