Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LOOK...I’M A NEW AUNTIE!


For the last two summers, I’ve had a pair of mallard ducks coming to my back yard. At first they just nibbled up the seed that other birds had scattered beneath the feeder in the tree, but then I got in the habit of putting a little bit of seed at the foot of the tree on purpose. That probably wasn’t the best thing to do, but the mallards were so darn cute. Last summer they came regularly, always the two of them, until I wondered if their nest had suffered predation and perhaps they hadn’t started another clutch of eggs. I wasn’t sure where they nested, either. The closest water, other than the lake (with its treacherous rocks full of crevices a baby duck would be wise to avoid!) are the ditches on the other side of the road.


This summer, the hen didn’t show up for quite a while, though the drake came several times every day, and yesterday, I looked up and saw the proud parents at the foot of the red maple, surrounded by eleven fluffy adorable puffball ducklings. They nibbled away for a while, then the hen led them across the back yard towards the road, up between the houses, down the front lawn, under the lilac bush, across the road (I held my breath for that one!) and into the ditch. They made a second trip to my back yard later in the afternoon, with an equally dangerous return crossing, but the hen seemed to know to wait until a car went by. When a second car came along, she was well into the middle of the road and very visible, so the car slowed to let the family line-up safely pass. I’m not sure she would have been so lucky if it had been one of the big produce trucks barreling along. After the second visit I went to Staples and bought an extra large red felt pen. If the family comes again today, I’m going to put signs out on the road with day-glow tape, warning people to slow down. I feel it’s the least I can do, since they are making the crossing because of the food source. And besides, I kind of feel like they’re family.


The photos were taken hastily, through the window, and I wasn't able to crop the yellow anti-bird-strike tape that fluttered into the view, but it doesn’t really reduce the cute factor by much. (photos enlarge)

16 comments:

bobbie said...

Eleven of them! And don't you love the other bird watching them from the tree? You're a good auntie. Wouldn't it be great if all eleven survive? They might hold family reunions at your place every year.

Poetikat said...

The "cute factor" is off the charts!!!
Gosh, I hope the notice to slow down works.
We have a park mid-town where we always have to come to a stop for geese, swans and ducks. It's great!

Kat

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Congrats, Auntie.. They are absolutely precious. And ELEVEN of them???? Mercy me...

Hope they come back year after year..
Hugs,
Betsy

Lin said...

wow, how fun. I can just see you in your colored vest out in the busy roadway stopping traffic as the ducks cross.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

They All Are So Cute !! Loved Them...This Is Great !!Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

Cloudia said...

Congrats!
And thanks for sharing this Springjoy!
Aloha

fourwindsphotojournal said...

I wish the little family the best of luck. We have several streets in Portland with duck and geese crossing signs. And, people stop for them.

Wren said...

Oh, I want a family in my back yard, too! So, so, cute.

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I love the photos! How precious those little guys are! You are a great Auntie! Hope you're having a great week, and it looks as though you are!

Ruth said...

Baby ducks are so cute and stay cute much longer than baby geese. I am sure most drivers would try to avoid hitting them but the crossing is dangerous for so many ducks. Good luck, auntie!

magiceye said...

indeed so cute!
appreciate your effort in helping them survive..

Kallen305 said...

So cute Deborah! That's a lot of ducklings!

Quiet Paths said...

Surely a duck crossing sign is in order. What a precious little family! Er, big family. 11, can you imagine?

Geraldine said...

Ahhhh...how sweet! Thanks for sharing this Deborah.

Rose said...

They melt my heart! Don't yours just about burst when you look out and see them?

LisaNewton said...

Oh, how cute is that. I've seen only one family of birds since I've been in LA, and that was actually out at the lagoon in Malibu.

Thanks for bring a little of your new family to life on the web. :)