Stanley and Ella's ducklings make their debut

Jodi Latina

Stanley, Central's seasonal resident duck, returned to campus earlier this month and has hatched her next brood. Seven ducklings are now happy and healthy as they follow mom around the Central campus. The Central Duck-cam captured this video of their debut.

Watch the video

This spring, a second female mallard followed Stanley's lead and established her own nest in the same secluded area. After a brief social media campaign students decided to name the second duck after Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso.

Ella's new arrivals hatched shortly after Stanley's ducklings arrived, adding 10 more ducklings to the Central family.

For the fourth spring running, female mallards have set up housekeeping on the Central campus in a location that provides excellent shelter from predators and limited human interaction.

Stanley is one of several mallards that were caught and tagged by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain. DEEP is monitoring ducks as part of an initiative to assess mallards' nesting success, including brood movement and habitat selection. Stanley was tagged in September 2022, and DEEP named her after the park.

The typical incubation period for ducks is 26 days. Stanley was first spotted on her nest this year in early April — about two weeks earlier than last year. Ella was spotted shortly thereafter and will be monitored by environmental officials as well.

Both nest locations don't offer a direct exit route for pre-fledge ducklings, so when the time comes, Central staff members will help Stanley and Ella move their ducklings back to Stanley Quarter Park.

Last year, Stanley's story inspired the Central Marketing & Communications team to launch a social media campaign. The social posts earned a Merit Award in the 2024 Educational Advertising Awards competition.


A screen grab from the Central Duck-cam shows three of Stanley's ducklings peeking out from the nest.