Monday, September 15, 2008

Mom! There's a duck in the backyard!

Me: [hollering from the office while typing] Where?

MiniMe: By the pool!

Me: [with angst over what the duck may have left floating for us in the pool] I'm coming!

Sure enough, there was a duck.

As we approached her, she hissed at us -- which I knew meant that Mama Duck had a nest nearby. She ran, then flew, away. An attempt to lead us away from where her eggs may have been, I'm sure.

As I walked back to the house with MiniMe, we talked about the possibilities of ducklings hatching from the eggs in the as yet unlocated nest. To her desperate pleas, I promised her that I would keep an eye out for Mama Duck so we could maybe get a glimpse of the nest or -- gasp! -- even the ducklings when (or if) they arrived on scene.

Then?

peep!

That sound. I stopped in my tracks. Suddenly I was 10 years old again, and my sister and I were spending March and April as we always did -- with my maternal grandparents in their "winter home."

Being a retirement community, neighborhood kids were few and far between and we were pretty creative in the ways we found to entertain ourselves. Our best friends? The ducks. These tame and very curious creatures hung around for the old bread we would feed them, and in general were always way too close to the house for my grandfather's liking. His main gripe? When food goes in one end of a duck, it invariably comes out the other end...which was likely on the front or back porch where he had to scrub it away with the hose and a stiff brush.

Although the big ducks were fun to feed and chase, our end game was always the ducklings. Much to my grandparents' dismay, there were many meals interrupted as we jumped up from the dining room table because we saw a Mama Duck and her string of babies swimming by in the canal outside the window. Our delight in dashing out with bread to feed the babies was matched by Mama Duck's eagerness to bring them over for a tasty little snack.

peep!

It's a sound that brings me back to those days of my childhood.



I had to investigate.

peep!peep!

Back...by the pool...

peep!peep!peep!peep!peep!

Closer to the fence...hmmm...on the other side of the fence...?

peep!peep!peep!peep!peep!peep!peep!peep!

Wha...? Coming from the ground...?





Oh, my.


Now what?

Did she hide them there? Or was her nest in there and they are recent hatchlings? Did they fall in and now can't get out?

We ultimately decided to give Mama Duck time to come back so we could see how she behaved and if she joined them in the hole.

She did come back, settled herself next to the hole, and was stressed. Seriously stressed.

We determined that she needed her babies out of the hole pronto, so Mr. O. donned a glove and retrieved all 8 of her little ones from their safe but unintentional temporary home.


After a glorious reunion, the ducklings formed their line behind Mama Duck and meandered their way out of our yard and over to our neighbor's garden (a veritable Disney for ducklings, if I were one).

Mr. O reported the next morning that he saw the happy family down the block at the neighborhood park under the huge cottonwood trees.

We haven't seen them since.

peep!

1 comment:

BusyDad said...

Great story!! Did those duckings sound a lot like crickets? At least on the video they did. I think ducklings are like one of the top 5 cutest baby animals ever. And so glad you're blogging again!!