Mom left them on their own occasionally, which caused noisy consternation, but no disasters. The ducklings learned to spread their wings, walk in tall grass, climb rocks in their way, and huddle together to await her return. When she’s back, they are thrilled beyond measure, happy to lean into her or huddle under her warmth.
Mom is somewhat concerned with two who don’t follow instructions quickly. The laggards don’t leave the pool when she tells them to, and can’t find the exit route unless she guides them to it again. She sets the pattern repeatedly, but there hasn’t been obvious improvement in their education. A seventh duckling didn’t thrive the first day, and mom made no effort to protect him (or her). The duckling was outside her protective warmth that night, with expected results. We wonder how the laggards will manage over time.
(Do you wonder how much time can be spent watching and how many photos can be taken of ducks? The answer is a lot.)