Rain fills fluddles with water, ducks
There's a lot to be intrigued by in a few grassy puddles
February 2023’s weather was, in a word, weird. Blame it on La Niña or climate change, but rain and mild temperatures were the norm. That came to a head on Feb. 23 when 1.2 inches of rain fell and again on Sunday night into Monday when another inch or so came down. The precipitation caused area rivers like the North Branch of the Chicago to flood. These waterways are typically icebound around now, but instead we had a torrent heading through the Northwest Side forest preserves. Here the river overspilled its banks and cut a new course between a baseball field and a picnic pavilion. The resulting fluddle attracted a number of ducks and a few geese. In this clip from this week, there are all Mallards, save for one other species (see if you can pick it out).
When precipitation falls as rain in February, it has a vast impact. Our stormwater ultimately runs down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico. A rainy February may mean flooding downstream or an increase in chemicals that feed the Gulf’s hypoxia “dead” zone.
It’s also worth noting that Mallards in eastern North America are declining. There are many theories as to why, including the loss and degradation of breeding and non-breeding habitat.
More to come on Monday, as a prelude to the FLUDDLES documentary.
Support FLUDDLES and we’ll send you a sticker!
Thanks to artist Pam Sloan, these beautiful stickers are now available when you make a contribution of $10 or more to the FLUDDLES film project. The 4” by 4” sticker depicts a Solitary Sandpiper, a regular migrant through the Midwest, as it stands beside a flooded field. Your contribution will go toward a match we are seeking from Illinois Arts Council to complete the film by this fall. Thank you for making this independent documentary film project possible!