Duck Tales Part II

This part of my story begins a few days after my original The Ducklings Are Coming post. If you haven’t read that post yet, go do so now. I’ll wait.

♫ ♬ ♪♬ ♫

Oh, you’re back. I was just humming a tune. You probably noticed my musical talents are … shall we say … ear-numbing? 🙂

Duck TalesA few days after I wrote The Ducklings Are Coming post, we heard our son shout for assistance. As we raced outside, he told us that the neighborhood tomcat had disappeared under the front deck dragging Mama Duck by the neck.

The men flew into action. My husband raced for one end of the deck while our son headed for the other end. The pounding of our feet against the floorboards and the sound of our loud voices must have frightened the tomcat into releasing Mama Duck because a few seconds later, the tomcat sprang out from one side of the deck and Mama Duck came flapping out the other end.

My husband raced after the tomcat, while poor Mama Duck took one look at the remaining humans and took flight in the opposite direction.

We took a quick peek through the branches of the juniper at the eggs. There was blood on them, so we knew Mama Duck had been hurt, but the eggs looked intact and unbroken. Provided Mama Duck came back, the ducklits still had a chance.

A while later, DH reappeared. He’d chased the tomcat clear across the yard and halfway across the farmer’s field. But now that the tomcat knew where the nest was, we knew he’d be back.

So we waited, keeping watch for Mama Duck, the return of the tomcat, or for the crows and magpies to discover and destroy the vulnerable eggs. To add to our worries, the temperature dipped to near freezing.

Mama DuckThe next day, we saw Mama Duck down by the pond. She was alive but limping. By mid-afternoon, we saw her walk from the pond toward the house to check on her eggs. If you look really close at the picture on the right, you can see her walking across the lawn.

My story has a bittersweet ending. While the duck eggs didn’t make it, we’re happy to say that Mama Duck recovered from her injuries. For the next week, she recuperated down by the pond, the Mallard duck in attendance. She didn’t fly, but instead walked everywhere. From our viewpoint near the house, it looked like she was searching for a new place to nest.

At first we mourned the loss of the duck eggs, but when we saw the tomcat once again sneaking up on the juniper, we knew the loss of the eggs had been a blessing in disguise. At least Mama Duck was safe … or as safe as Mother Nature would allow.

We currently have another family of ducklings visiting our pond. They appear late in the evening, just before sunset, and spend the night on the duck deck which floats in the middle of the pond.

And we’re keeping an eye out for our Mama Duck with hopes that she will appear in a few weeks with a new batch of ducklits. If  not this year, then maybe the next.

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About Sheila Seabrook

Author of Single Title Romantic Comedy and Women's Fiction

Posted on June 26, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I love this post, Sheila. I have a “thing” for ducks and love to watch them walk, fly, run. You name it, I’m a duck lover. So I really enjoyed reading your story and though the ducklits didn’t make it, Mama Duck did survive and there are more broods to come. I just hope you’ll share some pictures so I can “ooh” and “ahh” over them. Thanks.
    Patti

    • Thanks, Patti. I take pictures all of the time, but it’s hard to get close without scaring off the ducks. I’ll keep trying and if I get a half decent one of the ducklings, I’ll definitely share. 🙂

  2. Mother Nature can be cruel! I’m glad you and your family were able to save the Mama, Sheila. But if not the Tomcat, then some other animal will come along to torment the ducks. I guess that’s why we are writers, so that we can have a happy ending somewhere. 🙂 Your post reminds me that I have to check the swan’s nest by the pond. Hopefully, we’ll have a few cygnets soon.

    • One thing I learned is that tomcats are not a natural predator of the ducks, Tracy. Apparently cats were introduced in the 1800’s and I guess, in the natural evolution of things, the ducks haven’t figured out that they’re dangerous yet. I’m not sure how that works, but now when the cats come sit by the pond to wait for the ducks to come out, we don’t take any chances. We go chase them away. 🙂

  3. Sheila, isn’t it amazing how we can become so attached to a wild thing? They fill us with the thrill and the agony of nature. That old Tom Cat was only following his instincts to survive … and Mama Duck will live to have new ducklings 🙂 Thanks for the update !!

  4. I love that you are able to watch nature in action. How blessed you are and how lucky the ducks are to land on your pond!

  5. Shoot. Danged old stupid tomcat. I hope the injured duck comes back stronger because of her experience. And I hope she gets some new babies, too.

    Now I’m depressed.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • I was depressed at first, too, Jansen. In fact, I felt as though I should be in mourning. But now that our Mama Duck looks so very healthy, we’re looking forward to many more years of her arriving in the spring to nest. So please don’t be depressed. She is healthy again and flying around without any problems. Yay!

  6. A wonderful nature at its best story. I’m glad mama duck survived and hopefully, will try again.

    I sat outside the yoga studio the other day and monk parrots were all over the trees. They must have been migrating. I’d seen them in my yard before, but this time, there were so many. Very interesting.

  7. A bittersweet story, Sheila, but thank goodness you and the family were there to save her. With luck, she’ll bring ducklings back to see you someday. They’re very loyal. When my mom was a junior kindergarten assistant, her class hatched duck eggs in an incubator. Mom brought them home for the holidays and it was hilarious watching them follow her around – they’d imprinted on the one who raised them and became her flock.

    • That must have been amazing to see, Cheryl. We read about how the ducklings get attached to humans, and of course, they’re so cute, we get attached to them, too. 🙂

  8. I’m glad you and yours saved the mama duck, Sheila, and I’m sorry about the eggs. That’s one big, bold tomcat. My indoor cats would be intimidated by a duck. I am feeding a stray cat (yeah, another one), so I guess I’m part of the problem, but I don’t think the stray’s a match for a duck, either.

    • Pat, the ducks don’t go on attack, like a goose does. Surprisingly, they play dead in order to draw the attacking critter away from the eggs or ducklings. 🙂

  9. Janna Qualman

    Aw, doggonit. 😦 But I’m so glad, too, the mama is okay. Thanks for the update, Sheila.

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