Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh, Duck

Last year, I wrote the following post:

This spring, I had the great misfortune to see a mother duck lead her ten chicks across a parking lot and into a picturesque little pond not far from my apartment.

I say misfortune because, as I watched their tiny, fuzzy bodies plunk one by one into the water, I knew I would have to closely monitor this family all summer long. They had adopted me, and they didn't even realize it.

So every week I would pause briefly on a bench after work and watch them paddle around, cheep-cheeping and sticking their little butts in the air as they dove and splashed. And I would conduct a head count, just to make sure there were still ten, none of them having been nabbed by a predator or squashed by a passing car.

When I mentioned this compulsion to keep tabs on the ducks to one of my coworkers, he demanded to know why these animals were so irresistible. But you can't really explain that level of cuteness. So he posed a Sophie's choice question purely out of deviousness. "Okay then, would you rather lose one of the ducklings, or have a baby fox starve to death?"

After some horrified thought, I finally had to admit, "Well, I guess ten is kind of an embarrassment of riches."

I felt a bit guilty about that answer. Until a few nights later when, driving home from this same coworker's house, I almost hit a fox that darted across the road. But I didn't. I spared him. So I believe I earned the right to keep my fine-feathered family intact.

They're so grown up now that I can't tell which are my original ducklings and which are just your run-of-the-mill Mallards. But sometimes I wonder if they recognize me, ever watchful. #11.

This year, I'd hoped to avoid the responsibility of worrying about yet another family. So you can imagine my consternation when I walked out of my building last week and saw this:



SherilinR said...

they are quite delightful with their irresistableness, aren't they?

Lo said...

Oh, darling, I love you. We must be sisters. Thank heaven I haven't had ducks...I have enough trouble with baby raccoons and possums.

Jan said...

They are really cute!! At least you only have nine to watch this year. You are such a good guardian!!!!l

Courtney said...

I stopped by the pond yesterday and saw another family of eight! When I hit two dozen I may need to call in backup.

Sarah said...

You got me. I'm giggling.

Sarah said...

I should add… our church is in the "Cuban district" of town where hens / roosters are common place, thus, so are their chicks. I know their fate… so I try not to get attached. :)

Stacy Q said...

Have you heard of the book "Make Way For Ducklings"? if not YOU MUST GET THIS BOOK!! Library, Amazon, whatever, I think you would relate to it! It was published in 1969, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. It won the Caldecott award for the best illustrated children's book for the year it was published.
Apparently McCloskey studied ducks - kept them in his appartment - drew them from all angles, for more than a year before he finished the book.

Stacy Q said...

Correction - Make Way for Ducklings was originally published in 1941.