Mother Hen or a Mother Duck?

Mother Hen or a Mother Duck?


Have you ever noticed that birds take on a lot of mothering roles in stories and fairytales?

We’ve just cottoned on to the fact that our feathered friends often play big roles in fairytale families – and it seems appropriate to celebrate that in the run up to Mother’s Day.

From Old Mother Goose to the magic stork bringing babies in his beak it seems birds have been used to symbolize motherhood in centuries of folklore.

Of course, clichés are generally formed around some truth and it is a fact that birds do have strong bonds with their young. In fact, did you know that hens are even thought to be able to communicate with their chicks whilst still in the egg? We also owe birds our best expression of yearning for motherhood – the word “broody” originated with our feathered friends to describe a bird ready to incubate her eggs.

Just like us, birds have different Mothering styles. Chickens for example favor the “tough love” approach by staying close to their chicks during the early days, imparting all their worldly wisdom and teaching, before sending their little ones out of the coop and into the world, ready for parenthood themselves.

“Mother Hen” has made quite a name for herself but our ducks are not to be outdone! Thanks to the popular nursey rhyme “Five little ducks went swimming one day, over the hill and far away….”, “Mother Duck” has earned herself quite the reputation as a fiercely protective Mother, chasing away anyone who comes too close to her little duckys.

But perhaps the queens of the roost are our penguins – quite the most nurturing mothers. Not only do penguins choose a mate and stick with them all season, bringing up their babies together, but they also huddle together for warmth, can recognize each other’s voices even in a noisy colony of birds and both the mother and father share out the jobs like a truly modern family, taking on egg incubation, hunting for food and childcare equally.

So it seems bird related gifts are, in fact, a perfect choice for Mother’s Day – and giving a present with such a great story behind it is even more special. That leaves just one big question: Is the mother figure in your life a tough love chicken, a fiercely protective duck or a nurturing, faithful penguin? We’ll leave it to you to work that one out…!


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