Duck love

For about, oh, eight weeks now I’ve tried to think of something to blog about that didn’t involve Lego. This week I actually have a story to share.

I love ducks. They’re funny looking and cute at the same time. I mean, how would you like to look like a duck? How would you like it if you tried to talk and all that came out was a quack? The word “duck” is funny too, even outside its punny possibilities. Duck duck duck. Quack.

Yesterday, I went to check out an apartment that looked promising online, so we can decide before June 1 whether we want to renew our contract here or move someplace bigger, cheaper, or (if possible) both. While we decided not to move to the complex I visited (seriously, 400+ units? Is this an ant colony?), I did love that it had a large duck pond. And in the duck pond were ducks with their baby ducks by the dozens. If there’s anything I like more than a duck, it’s a duckling. I pointed them out to Lego, but he seemed completely uninterested, considering it was raining and cold and his vision isn’t that great yet anyway. (Sheesh, I can’t keep him out of this, can I?)

So I left the complex feeling happy feelings about ducks when I drove by a drake standing in the other lane of a busy street, poking at something with his beak. The something fluttered its wings—it was a female duck. (Is there a word for “female duck”? Also, while I’m at it, is there a word for overuse of parentheses?)

The drake was trying to help its mate fly or at least walk away, but she had been hurt badly. Meanwhile, cars were swerving to avoid hitting him because he simply would not leave her side. Some human men are less devoted to their lady loves than that.

I drove down the road feeling pretty shaken and wondering if I should go back and move the female duck to the side of the road so her mate wouldn’t get hurt too. After a block or two I decided to turn around. When I got back there, though, she was already lying in the grass, her mate standing about ten feet away. I assume someone had the same idea I did.

She was on her back, her feet feebly kicking at the rain, her neck at a crazy angle. I don’t know if this actually helped anything or if it just made me feel less helpless, but I gently turned her over so she was belly down, and I tried to place her neck in a better position so she would be as comfortable as possible in her last moments.

As I drove home, I felt a bit crazy for reacting so strongly to an injured duck. But it kind of touched me to see something like a human attachment in that drake. I also wondered if she’d been carrying his eggs—or worse, they’d hatched somewhere and now lacked a mother.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the story. It’s a bit of a downer, but I also think it shows the beauty of creatures everywhere. Sometimes it’s easy for me to think that animals are simply creatures of instinct and survival, but if they were, that drake would have followed his instinct to fly away from fast-moving cars so he could survive. He wouldn’t have stayed by his dying mate.

And that makes it all the more amazing that he did. I love ducks.


  1. That is a great story. Poor ducks.

    We had ducks when I was growing up (at least until the raccoons, dogs, and snowplow got involved). They were a lot of fun. Especially the fluffy yellow ducklings.

  2. I’ve already told Brinestone this story, but that’s okay. My next-door neighbor had ducks for several years. She started with just two, Mama Quacker and Papa Quacker.

    They were a lot of fun (because that’s just the way ducks are), but then one day Mama Quacker was killed (by a neighbor’s dog, if I remember correctly). Papa Quacker became pretty depressed after that.

    He was so lonely that he started talking to his reflection in their car bumper. Our neighbor noticed that he was doing this, so she put a mirror out in the back yard for him to talk to. Poor Papa Quacker.

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