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Little Duckies

Welcome baby ducks! This is the tenth year we have had mallards hatch in our pond.  Hatched March 24th, they are now almost 1 month old.

Ducks take a special liking to backyard pond: By Carolyn Bolton, News-Press Correspondent

A Mallard gave birth to a brood of ducklings Thursday on a private pond off East Valley Road in Montecito. “They just hatched this morning,” said Penny Bianchi, an interior designer and owner of the pond, pointing to the eight cotton-ball-sized baby ducks as they were taking refuge under their mother’s wings.

The ducks are part of a long line of wildlife that have found refuge at the home of Ms. Bianchi and her husband, Adam Bianchi, who manages his wife’s interior-design business.

About 12 years ago, the couple built a home reminiscent of a French farmhouse, complete with a guesthouse; courtyard; terrace and multiple chicken coops.

As a designer, Ms. Bianchi said she was the visionary for a lot of the property’s environmental landscaping.  But, with all its flair, she felt something was missing.

“There needs to be a pond here,” she told her husband shortly after construction on their home began in the late 90’s.  A pond had been on the property but was destroyed sometime in the 1940’s to make way for a riding ring.  “I still never would have guessed there was a pond; so many of the wetlands have been filled in by developments,” she said.

After the house was finished, “We dug the pond and it immediately filled up with water,” Ms. Bianchi said.  The water has been popular with ducks.  “There were 10 a year for the past 10 years,” Ms. Bianchi said.

That includes a family near by in Glen Oaks that got spooked by a garbage truck and began waddling their way to her home in a neat line.  “She had to walk at least a mile to get through the brush,” said Ms. Bianchi of the mother duck.

About five years ago, a mother duck that often laid eggs on the outskirts of the Bianchis’ pond was attacked.  “So she started laying her eggs inside,” Ms. Bianchi said, pointing to the duck house that is tethered to the bottom of the pond so it doesn’t float to the bank and become a target for hungry wildlife.

“Most people don’t know that everything eats baby ducks,” she said, rattling off a list of a half-dozen predators, including coyotes and bobcats.

Ms. Bianchi said it’s critical for baby ducks to have a safe place to nest for the first 53 days of their life because, until then, they are unable to fly and especially susceptible to predators.  However, since the ducks began nesting in the duck house, not a single one has been lost, she said.

“They all want to be here.”  In fact, the duck population on her property has been thriving, with a total of 19 ducks born last summer alone, Ms. Bianchi said.  The only recent casualty Ms. Bianchi knows was a male wood duck she purchased last year to keep a female wood duck company.  But, “off he flew,” said Ms. Bianchi. “We haven’t seen him since.”

The pond is near the perimeter of the Bianchis’ 2-acre property, which sits in the middle of 90 acres of forest and beside a 45-acre nature preserve cared for by the Land Trust of Santa Barbara County.

“The Chumash used to make baskets out of that,” said Ms. Bianchi pointing to wisps of juncus beside the pond.  In 2006, the National Wildlife Foundation certified the Bianchis’ home as a backyard habitat after Ms. Bianchi and her granddaughter teamed up for an elementary school project.

According to the National Wildlife Refuge, the five basic elements necessary to gain this distinction include:

  • food sources (native plants, seeds, etc.)
  • clean water
  • plenty of cover
  • places to raise young
  • sustainable gardening (mulch or compost)

“Basically, I want it to look like the nature preserve,” said Ms. Bianchi of the land surrounding her home.  In addition to planting 99 percent native plants on the property, Ms. Bianchi said she selected foliage that would attract humming-birds, monarch butterflies and quail.

There is not a single patch of lawn in the Bianchis’ backyard habitat.  “If you have lawn, you’ll never get any quail,” Ms. Bianchi said.

In 2001 the Bianchis’ received a Montecito Beautification Award for the work they have done on their property.  For more information on wildlife or to certify your backyard habitat, visit


Ducklings on nest box
Ducklings on nest box

The ducks survival is dependent on the protection the nest box provides.  Our nest box is tethered in the center of the pond, and provides a safe place for mothers to lay their eggs, and protects the babies from predators.  Baby ducklings are not able to fly for 52 days, hence the term “sitting duck”.  For more information on purchasing a custom made floating duck house please contact McCormick Interiors here.


The picture above was taken April 8th, the ducklings are just over 1 week old here.


Swimming ducks
Swimming ducks

They grow so fast! This last picture was taken April 13th, about 3 weeks old.

28 thoughts on “Ducklings

  1. Tracey Jackson

    Congrats! This is a great site. It totally captures you and your work and your life. I love the ducks. You must keep posting so we can all watch them grow.

    1. penelopebi

      I so appreciate that! You are a blogger extraordinaire! Thank you!!!

    2. penelopebi

      I will keep posting daily pics……..I might make one blog a week..but good idea! daily pics of these ducklings!!!
      Thank you Tracey…….you have been such an inspiration.

  2. Cathy Tyner

    The celebration of Easter is everyday with Penny!

    1. penelopebi

      thank you and what a compliment!

    2. penelopebi

      what a compliment! Yesterday my daughter came to pick up my grandson…….and she said: ( at the front door) I JUST SAW THE EASTER BUNNY! IT RAN ACROSS YOUR DRIVEWAY!!!”

  3. Eva Kamtsiouri

    Good Luck Penelope all the way from Athens Greece.It’s an exquisite house that you have.Best regards!

  4. Karena

    Andrea has sent me your way and I am so glad that she did. Wonderful blog Penelope and I adore you ducklings!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Fashionable Giveaway from the French Basketeer!

  5. Pamela

    Welcome to the blogging world! Brooke sent me over and I am so happy she did! What lovely work, what a lovely blog. I know I shall visit here often. Best wishes to you!



  7. Kris


    Brooke sent me over and I would like to welcome you to the world of blogging.

    The photos of the baby mallards are “too sweet” and I cannot believe how fast they have grown.

    I have added you to my blog list and will be back to visit.


  8. The Devoted Classicist

    The floating duck house is wonderful!

  9. allison

    I look forward to getting to know you and learning more about your inspirations. I have admired your work from afar and know we share a love for nature, beautiful gardens and old things. Best wishes for much success with your new blog and website…I will be reading regularly!

    1. penelopebi

      Thank you so much! I have been so very touched by your comments; and others. I am very new at this and have hit some snags. I hope everyone will be patient! I love your blog as well!

  10. Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES)

    Penelope- Just came over from Brooke’s blog. Welcome little ducks and a warm welcome to your beautiful blog!


  11. Splendid Willow

    Welcome to the blogworld, Penelope!

    The lovely Brooke sent me here. She says that you are fantastic on all levels – and I believe her!

    Happy Spring to you.


    P.S Your ducks are so adorable.

  12. Vicky Urbanas


  13. Greet

    Dear Penelope,
    I am so glad Brooke at Velvet & Linen posted about you and your work today!
    I visited your website and discovered your beautiful designs!
    Welcome in our blogging community!
    I am off to browse through your blog!

  14. mary

    Hi, Brooke sent me; she is right- your posts and comments are wonderful. Can’t wait to read future posts. Have a wonderful Easter with all of your amazing beasties.

  15. Victoria Athens

    Congratulations on your new adventure. Brooke has mentioned you often on her site. I was especially intrigued by the pictures she posted of the Lars Bolander book event and the peek at your interiors and gardens it provided. I welcome the opportunity to see more of your work…especially your garden designs.

  16. Mona Thompson

    Hello Penny, Welcome to the blog world. Your off to a wonderful start and I look forward to following you. I’m in love with your collections and your home. Happy Easter. Mona

  17. Diane

    Welcome to blogland Penny. If you take advantage of all it has to offer you will learn new things and make new friends. I come to you via a favorite blogger of mine, Brooke from Velvet and Linen. Please visit our blog as well. Love the baby ducks..they are almost as cute as Brooke’s chickens!

  18. Kathy Wommack

    Hi Penelope…may we call you “Penny” as Brooke does??

    I am thrilled you will be sharing your time, talent, and passions with us through blogging. I am not a decorator or designer–someone asked me recently what I do, and I had no idea what to tell them! My husband and I have raised 4 sons, and we are now grandparents to 3 precious babies, who are growing much too fast!

    I had absolutely no taste until I started reading the design blogs. Having never been exposed to classic design, I was just ignorant, and involved in other areas. I have learned soooo much from reading Brooke’s blog, and Greet’s blog, and now find myself browsing through blogs in languages I cannot read. (I wish the europeans would ALL put the google translate button” on their blogs!)

    I loved the images of your home that Brooke posted!!! I can tell from the images that you are a fun person, and I am thrilled that you will be blogging. I look forward to your posts and thank you in advance for the time you will devote to it.

    cheers! (champagne bottle breaking to christen your new blog)

    1. penelopebi

      Thank you for your lovely comment!! I am getting set up with feedburner so you (and others who asked) can subscribe!
      Also; if one clicks on the magazine covers on the press section; there are many more pictures of our house!
      I am truly touched by all the lovely comments so quickly! (Much thanks to Brooke!!)

      I told my assistant that there are so many wonderful blogs; it is like graduate school!

  19. traci zeller designs

    How beautiful and wonderful! The ducks are just adorable and I love the duck house. I stopped over from Velvet & Linen (love Brooke!). Welcome to the world of blogging!!

  20. free online casino games

    I’ve bookmarked, shared and became a member of your RSS subscription. With thanks!

  21. Erinn Loner

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    1. Penelope Bianchi

      On the first page of my website….there is a contact…click.. Good luck! If it doesn’t work….please tell me! Thank you!

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