Sunday, May 04, 2008

Our Daily Ducks

Above is the view from my studio window of our newly snow-free yard. It's been about 2 weeks since the white stuff left New England. The grass returned quickly, and it's terrific to see our woods get green again. The titmice and chickadees (who stayed all winter) were joined by other birds at the feeder: red and yellow finches, cow birds, jays.

And then -- surprise, surprise -- this pair of mallards flew in to snarfle in the grass. I was going to write "to nibble on the grass," but I can't tell what they're doing really.

Every evening they'd fly in, circle the house twice, and land in the back yard.

The male you can see easily.

The female is more blendy.

Last week, I heard the flutter of wings, and saw the female land. Instead of beginning her snarfling routine, she waddled around the back yard, alone, looking here and there and quacked, quacked, quacked. After 15 minutes, she flew away.

She returned at dusk, again all by herself. Again: quacking, quacking, until it was nearly dark. Then she flew away.

No sign of her mate. It was very sad and there was much speculation of tragic Elmer Fuddcentric endings for the boy duck.

The next afternoon, the male mallard flew in. He was alone. He quacked and quacked. I leaned out of my window and talked to him. Yes, I actually talked to a duck. I reassured him and told him that he should stay there. His girlfriend was looking for him all yesterday. He looked at me, quacked, and then flew away. Stupid bird. The only way to get found when someone is looking for you is to stay put.

Then there were a couple of sad days without a visit from any ducks. We worried.

Then, one recent morning, there was that big flutter of wings and the two mallards flew in together. They were both quacking and snarfling. Recently, this past week, she's been waddling in front of him, and he waddles, watchfully, behind her. I don't see them fly in any more. They walk in from the woods or from the neighbor's yard. I think she's with eggs.

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