St. Michael School's Mama Mallard Makes it Five

For four straight years, Miss Mallory Woods, a mallard hen, has found the Big Woods Elementary School's courtyards a fitting place to lay her eggs.

Mallory Woods, or "mama duck" as the teachers at Big Woods Elementary School like to call her, has made it five.

The mallard hen hatched her fifth clutch of eggs, and made it four years in a row, Friday afternoon.

Teachers and staff helped Mallory make her way to a pond along Oakwood Parkway, near 47th Lane, to make a new home for her and the seven ducklings she hatched.

Mallory laid 13 eggs. Eight hatched, but one duckling didn't survive long, teacher Aaron Heil surmised.

"She always lays more than her body can handle," Heil said. "She has to sit on them to keep them all warm, and there's only so much room."

Mallory's laid five clutches because last year, she had to lay two. She lost most of her ducklings due to the unseasonable cold last April.

"Before the end of the year she came back to the courtyard and laid down one more. I think it was like 11 eggs," Heil said.

Heil, Jason Jonson and John Sherman helped coral the ducklings and Mallory for trasnportation. Instead of roaming through the halls, Sherman packed her in a plastic tub with the ducklings and drove her to the nearby pond.

As recently as two years ago Mallory and the clutch roamed through the school to a pond near Midddle School East, but Sherman figures there are predators in that pond now.

"I think there's a snapper (turtle) in that pond that's taken some of them in the past," he said. "This one might work better."

The teachers can identify Mallory because of her right foot. About one third of it is missing.


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