And just like that…

…the duck story is over. I was away for several days, during which time Mike dutifully reported “The duck’s still there.” I got home on Tuesday and only just today ventured out for a walk and took a peek at the ducks. All I saw were a few broken shells. It didn’t even look like a nest anymore, just a depression in the mulch.

I was sick about it. Cursing the neighbor’s blasted white crazy-dog Mike had seen tearing through our yard this morning that I was sure had destroyed the nest.

“Stupid nature,” I thought. “Great. Just great.”

I plodded down the road, depressed. A few doors down, I saw my neighbor, and after our brief hello’s (I was in no mood to chat), she asked, “Is the duck still there?” Seems my cross-the-street neighbor had told her about it. I told her what I had just seen and how upset I was at seeing only a few broken shells. She shook her head and said, “She eats them.”

Apparently, once the eggs hatch, mom cleans the nest, including the broken shells. Then, in the dark of night, she leads the little ones away. My neighbor knows because the ducks picked her yard to nest in last year, and she had done some research on them. She got the chance to see a few of the ducklings before mom spirited them away. She went to bed one night and they were there; next morning they were gone. She thinks they go to the creek that runs along the highway that parallels our road, and that it’s the same pair every year…mallards, and also a lone drake that seems to have lost his mate. She’s never seen any of the babies.

So, fingers crossed, my story seems to have a happy ending, but without cute little duckie pictures to share (sorry Mel). I walked along the creek for a bit, hoping to spot something, but it goes a long way and even crosses the road (or else it’s a different creek on that side) and I didn’t see a thing. I’ll keep my eye out this summer.

But, better yet, I have something else to watch out for, even more exciting. My neighbor also talked about there being a pair of owls in the neighborhood — big ones! My sister has an owl in the trees behind her house in Atlanta that we could clearly hear — loud, like a dog almost. I had said how much I’d love to see an owl. Now, maybe, on some moonlit night, I’ll see the owls like my neighbor did. Gliding along without making a sound. How cool that would be!

In the meantime, I have goldfinches to keep in expensive thistle seed and squirrels to chase off the big sunflower seed feeder and a couple giant groundhogs to catch before they destroy my garden. Nature endures. I’m just trying to keep up.

Let us permit nature to have her way.
She understands her business better than we do.

~ Michel de Montaigne


  1. robbie said,

    Friday, May 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Be careful what you wish for. You might see that owl one night soaring through the sky with a duckling dangling from its mouth!

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, May 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Oh, I’m wishing for bigger things, Robbie…moles, mice, or dare I say it…groundhogs!

  3. mel said,

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    OH NO what robbie said! no no!

    I prefer your version, WBE–b/c that very thing happened to my father-in-law a few years back AND we were there and were mourning the loss after spotting the destroyed nest—until we saw the next-door neighbors cooing over something in their back yard… It was the babies and mama! they had hatched safely and were being led away to the nearby small lake! So cute, all following their mom, and her trying to herd them together into a messy little fluff-group of travelers. I do think that’s what happened. No worries!

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