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Mon., June 13, 2011, 7:35 a.m.

The fields are pulsing with little critters

A mallard hen decoys an intruder from her brood of ducklings on Crab Creek by pretendng to be easy prey with a broken wing as she splashes downstream away from her babies. (Rich Landers)
A mallard hen decoys an intruder from her brood of ducklings on Crab Creek by pretendng to be easy prey with a broken wing as she splashes downstream away from her babies. (Rich Landers)

WILDLIFE -- Deer were dropping their fawns in the last week of May.  The four robin chicks jumped out of their nest behind our house on Saturday and have been hopping around the house all weekend.

A couple of hikes in Lincoln County Sunday revealed more little critters.  A hen turkey flattened to the ground as though her legs had vanished when I rounded a bend on the trail at Twin Lakes.  When she realized I was still coming, she wheeled around and started trotting away. I knew she had chicks nearby, but was surprised to see about eight of them flush from behind her -- the size of quail and they flew very well up into a stand of aspens.

Then the hen circled around and gave me hell from a distance of about 10 feet.

I was outta there. 

Later in the day, while hiking down Crab Creek, I spotted at least two broods of mallards and two teal broods.  Parents did a good job of broken-wing decoying (top photo) to keep me moving down the trail and away from the ducklings that quickly hid in the shoreline grass.

In the turkey photo, above left, notice the chick flying above, and the one behind the hen on the ground getting ready to flush and fly strongly.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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