As my hero Yogi once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching". I have been observing the birds on my morning walks around Buckeye Lake in Bluffton. The mallards are paired up for the most part, males and females seeming to stick close together in pairs. I have been speculating that their eggs have been laid and they are in the process of waiting for their babies to hatch. I've looked in vain for where the eggs might be.
However, I see now from Wikipedia that "mallards form pairs only until the female lays eggs, at which time she is left by the male." Wikipedia goes on to say that "the clutch is 8–13 eggs, which are incubated for 27–28 days to hatching with 50–60 days to fledging." So, I guess I can watch for when the pairing-up has gone, and then see how the females take care of the eggs for a month after that. Should be fun!