Well the RSPB have got back to me about the rescued Mallard ducklings. They have said that they will be able to fly at 7 weeks old & that it will be fine to let them go when they are ready.
So I am sat looking out at them with tears in my eyes but a smile on my face. It is good news that despite, or even because of my human intervention they will be free to live life as the wild birds they were born to be. But I will miss my little ones dearly. Having hand reared them I have an almost maternal bond with them. Hubby tried to cheer me up by suggesting that they might choose not to fly away, or maybe stay close & come back & visit us. But I'm sure they will want to find other mallards & a bigger expanse of water than the ponds we can offer. So I'm going to have to be brave. By my reckoning they are about 5 weeks old now, so I'm going to make the most of the remaining time whilst also somehow trying to gently break the tie with them. My selfish heart is heavy but my soul is joyful.Happy wild adult Mallards