Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Lord Love a Duck

I am a fool for ducks. I don't know why. Must be their little web feet. The waddle. The sweet bills. There are about a hundred of them on my neighbor Peterson's pond, and if this year follows last year's precedent, they'll stay here over the winter, subzero temps and all.

I love the word duck. It's inherently funny. I am pleased that the University of Oregon has the duck as its mascot. Someday when I move to Oregon, I'll buy lots of Go Ducks apparel for the sheer joy of wearing Duck upon my lily-white breast.

I wonder what they talk about. I wonder why one (or more) of them are usually raising their voices into that QUAA-quaa-quaa that sounds so pissed off, as if there were disciplining to be done.

Perhaps there is.

Since Peterson cleaned up his pond and consecrated it to wildlife (as much to exclude humans, some of our snarkier neighbors have said), the population has grown exponentially. I have learned that ducks have daycare for their young. You won't see little threesomes gliding around the pond as if it were an eternal Easter parade; there is usually one adult with about six ducklings, guiding them around the pond and into the reeds. There you have it, folks--daycare can be a part of the natural order of things.

But that was in the summer. We are all quite grown up now, the mallard markings having
overtaken and pushed out duckling fluff. Since the pond iced over I have been concerned about doing my part to make sure that the ducks stay nourished. So I went over to the supply place, bought a big bag of cracked corn, and set out yesterday to have a duckie picnic.

I could tell that they thought this was a dandy idea. Throughout the summer and fall, Maddie-dog and I had been down to feed both ducks and catfish with our trusty cracked corn. My spouse has said that when Maddie appears at the pond, the ducks expect to be fed and start to gather for lunch. Alas, the little alpha-bitch hasn't been bringing them anything for the last couple of weeks.

So down we went yesterday, to pitch corn on the ice and watch the critters come in. They had been waddling around on the ice when we arrived and ignored us for a while, since that no-good dawg had been so stingy and thoughtless in recent times. But then I whipped out my strongest outfield arm and began hurling the corn. It scattered across the ice, handful after handful.

They got the idea. In they came.
Soon they were all there, nibbling away. I was concerned that I hadn't brought sufficient refreshments to the party and went home for more. More pitching. More nibbling.

Then they were off again. They rose in a body and took to the sky.

Farewell, sweet duckies. We'll meet again soon.

That was a duckie story. I happen to live in *duck country* Home of the University of Oregon ducks.
The duck pics you posted were sweet. When ducks make the noises you refer to, it sounds to me like someone cracked a joke & they are all laughing.
We have a public land pond nearby & it;s been a while since we brought bread to those quackers. Used to go feed the ducks with the kids just for entertainment!
I was attacked one autumn by a group of angry ducks on a pond in Stanley Park in Massachusetts.
The bank was muddy and as I made my escape I slipped and fell and soiled my navy blue velvet jeans.

Ducks can kiss my ass.
Velvet jeans pondside? Haven't you ever heard of denim??
hmmm duck resentments flare ! Lulu Maude the oddest thing happens to me when you post on Nature ie your garden and this one..they come back to me as i fall asleep before i ever comment. So i am back to say TY for the vivid picture. I can almost see the V shape, hear their quacks and calls. Smell the pond etc. Beautiful -
Now i am off to read a BOOK ! off the computer..to real book . Its thrilling..Naomi Kleins Shock Doctrine is waiting for me..to open its pages...
I was in courting mode and needed the special plumage.
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