Every year wild mallards lay, incubate, and hatch a dozen or so eggs by our pond. It’s cute at first watching momma duck with her dozen ducklings waddling around our property in a line, eating food we put out for deer/turkey/etc, exploring our yard.
But momma duck is not very attentive. Over time, one by one, the group suffers attrition. A duckling is left behind in the barn, and starves. One finds a way into our shed but can’t find a way out. Raccoons eat a few. Foxes take their share. A hawk gets one. Every few days the number decreases. Eventually it’s momma duck and one or two survivors.