Don’t ya just HATE it when your duck gets away from ya?!?
When the ducks aren’t swimming, they are usually napping around the pond and basking in the sunlight on the bank. At times, they even try to nest in the tall tufts of grass that run along the sides of the driveway [which is ALSO the pond bank]. If we are “lucky”, we can collect eggs in these types of places. That’s a rare occurrence, though, because usually the eggs roll down into the pond or are cracked – or they EAT them before we get to ’em!
Lately, I’ve been seeing everyone hanging out in their usual places, except for Margaret. Now – I know it’s springtime and love is in the air, so this is a good time of year to expand the family. However, Margaret eludes us. She’s not been in any of her normal and random nesting places [sidenote: are you allowed to describe something as both random and normal all at once? just checkin…]. Her past fav place was under the steps at the back of the house. It was a good place because it is very difficult to get in there…and it had a covering to shelter her from the weather.
She’s not there, though.
For several days, I’ve been sorta sad while scratching my head and wondering where the STANK she could be! I kept thinking that surely I would find her at some point and really wanted to – just to know that she’s okay and so we can help out with any future ducklings. Just some brief history here – Margaret hatched some ducklings early last year….and let’s just say that it didn’t turn out too pretty. It takes trial and error with learning how to care for animals and we weren’t totally prepared with what we had to deal with those precious baby ducks. Out of 10 perfect little ducklings, only 1 made it. I know. It’s really sad. And if you think THAT is sad, then you should have seen me desperately scrambling to nurse several little ducklings back to health – all at once! I’m soft-hearted when it comes to animals, and cried a decent bit over those baby ducks. I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to chicks and ducklings, you have to not let them get to “that point” where they are starting to fade. If they go barely too far and get weak, then it is nearly impossible to save them. So when I figured out that Margaret must be nesting somewhere, it was starting to drive me bonkers that I couldn’t find her hideout anywhere. I don’t want ANY of these ducklings to die this time!
Finally, I was outside one day working around the yard, and this caught my eye:
Do you see her? And yes, I realize that this grown up mess looks…well…MESSY. To be fair, when I first found her, the weeds weren’t quite this bad. Now that I know she’s there, though, I have not continued with clean up on that side of the house because we have to keep her hideout hushies! Besides, hubby is working feverishly to get new pads for everyone here – the chickens AND the ducks. We want to have somewhere safe to keep momma and her babies once they hatch.
Anyway, she is brown, so she blends in pretty good with her surroundings. YES, I was ecstatic to find her! I cried out her name from across the way, and she cried out mine in return and we ran to each other, meeting halfway in a tearful embrace! She didn’t mind me blowing my nose on her shoulder [do ducks have shoulders?] and – actually, no.
She wasn’t really that happy to see me AT ALL. She flared up her feathers, fluffed up her tail, opened her bill and said “Youuuuuuuuuu better LEAVE ME ALONE! I do NOT need your help, you IDIOT! I remember what your sorry mess did to my youngins LAST year, and I’m not ABOUT to sacrifice my sweet, new babies to the likes of YOU!! Now GET back!! And don’t tell ANYONE that I’m hiding out here…or so help me…” [she said all of that in angry, hissing ducks sounds]
Rest assured that I calmed her nerves and let her know that I was only here to help. You know, a midwife of sorts. I also promised not to let any harm come to her children for as much as I could help it. Honestly, she could care less because she thinks that she can totally do this without me, but we’ll see. I will keep you updated on her progress and hopefully catch some cute duckling pics before too long.
Let’s go back really quickly and talk about the 1 duckling that survived last year:
Isn’t he colored – uniquely? He’s been mistaken for a cat on multiple occasions [from a distance].
Anyway, we never decided on a name for him until recently: Manley. Yeah, I figured that he could use a little…confidence-booster, if you know what I mean. You can tell by the way he acts that he feels like his coloring is a little TOO unique, so I’ve tried to have pep talks with him and to encourage him. He seems to like his name, too. And look how good he looks in the lineup:
The first pic of Manley was taken back in the snowy wintertime, and this one here [with Gordy the Gardenhose] was taken just today. Is it just me or is Manley’s bill gotten a LOT darker? To me, it looks nearly solid black now. Aw, SHNIFF shniff!! My little ducky is growing up into a respectable gothic THUG duck! Makin’ momma PROUD!