Sunday, June 8, 2008

Duck, Duck, Goose?

Two days distracted by ducks I haven’t set foot in the garage to work… It started Friday when my Husband called me at work to inform me our backyard pool was hosting geese. They were still there seven hours later when I arrived home. I was consumed by them. Dober (my loyal 4-legged companion) had to be walked out front as he can not be trusted lose with fowl. I spent hours watching them from the upstairs window, the side of the house, the back porch. It was momma, papa and approximately two dozen little ones. Being that just two days earlier I had freed a family of frogs from our pool filter and am presently trying to evict a family of four squirrels from the eves of my house, I’m beginning to feel like a nature preserve.

It wasn’t long before my obsessive need to know nature kicked in, and with the help of a couple friends and the internet I found out that these were Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (also known as Tree Ducks). The parents nest in the cavities of trees, soon after their birth the babies dive/fall to the ground, I assume bounce a time or two and are lead to the nearest body of water. In this case appears the nearest body of water appears to have been our pool. In the last two days:
- The babies were helped out of my pool by the aid of a makeshift dock comprised of a few fence boards and a towel.
- They faced the early morning advances of a Harris Hawk most likely called to breakfast by the constant chirping… Buffet!
- And traveled from one neighborhood pool to another, some chicks with more successful then others.

I did my best to remember that as cute as they may be these are wild animals. With a dedicated mother they did not need my interference. If a few were lost, and they were, that is natures way not that it did not sadden my heart. I want them all to grow up health, go to college and become doctors, lawyers and astronauts. In future, when I see these lovely creatures flying overhead I will always wonder if that is one of the little ones we hosted for a brief time.

Good sources for information on the Black-bellied Whisteling Duck include The Cornell Lab on Ornithology and Wikipedia.


m. heart said...

wow, that's quite the little duck armada you've got there! that would have distracted me too!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what wonderful ducks! How lovely to have so many young ones around you - you're right - it is so sad when some of the little ones disappear but it is nature... I'm always astonished that some ducks nest in trees and their young dive out of the trees as soon as they fledge!