Remember when I said I was just as glad that the mother mallard who’s been feeding all summer at the base of the red maple hadn’t kept bringing the whole brood with her every time she stopped by? Well, I spoke too soon. Now that they're older, she's able to take them all with her to the lake, and today I saw them all arriving just beyond the breakwall. I knew what was coming next. You may recall, the mom mallard brought the tiny brand new babies a couple of times, but that was it (or so I thought) and, like I said, I was kind of relieved. I can barely keep up with the birdseed consumption as it is. That’s mainly because the usual suspects - bluejays, grackles, redwings, mourning doves, cardinals, sparrows etc - all go through the seed so fast I have to keep putting it out there so there’ll be at least some for the ducks whenever they arrive. I haven’t kept track of how much I’ve spent on birdseed this summer, and frankly, I don’t want to know.
Then this morning, when the hen showed up with some of the kids in tow, I was sorry I hadn't put out any seed yet. It looked like she had about five or six out of the original eleven with her. Then she flew up over the breakwall, nibbled a bit at the leftovers, and then started quacking like crazy. Then she flapped up onto the breakwall parapet, and looked down at the youngsters, and quacked some more. It was as plain as the nose (beak?) on your face that she was calling to them to come and learn about this valuable food source. None of them lifted a feather. Typical teenagers. It seems like only yesterday when they were babies, they followed her around in a tight single file everywhere she went, and instantly obeyed her when she told them to stop while she check both ways for traffic in the road. But now that they’re older, they just ignore her. I guess it’s the same the world over. Later, she called again, she got one of them to join her. So there I was with my camera (hidden on the other side of the window) hoping more of the kids would fly up and over. I better put another bag of birdseed on my next shopping list.
P.S. When I posted about this before, someone had asked me about what I was putting out. It isn’t cracked corn (I haven’t even seen any for sale around here); it’s a mixed seed especially for songbirds. And apparently mallards.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.