Duck Spring

Spring! It seems that everything bloomed at once here. It warmed up at the beginning of May and everything popped. I’ve missed it some years. This year I buried my face in the lilac blossoms

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to inhale their fragrance.

I took photos of the snowballs in spring.

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and the towers of flowers

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perched on their branches like Christmas trees.

The flowering crab in the center of our back yard

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is maybe not as showy as some of the other trees in town.

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Here is a photo of our front lawn.

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Grows fast this time of year. If you look very closely you can probably see it growing in this picture.

David is having to mow it about every five days. ‘Tis the season, honey!

For the last few summers he’s been hauling the grass clippings to the back yard and dumping them under the spruce tree by our storage shed.

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Spring flies by so quickly. Early on we had ducks flopping out in our front yard. We found it amusing – pairs of ducks waddling around the neighborhood – napping in front yards. Our dog, Rudy couldn’t abide the ducks. He’d bark at them through the front windows and run them off.

A pair of ducks started frolicking in our back yard. We were amused. We’d let Rudy out, and he’d tear after them as if protecting us from an armed invasion.

Then one day I was out planting flowers and noticed him behaving very un-poodle like. Poodles see a squirrel or some other movement in the yard and they tear after it without hesitation, barking like maniacs. They are not your quintessential hunting dog. But this particular day Rudy pointed toward the back spruce tree, froze into a hunting-dog pose, lifted his right front leg, took a step forward, posed, lifted his left front leg, nudged his nose forward, then … CHARGE!! he went after whatever it was under the spruce tree to flush it out.

“FLAP, FLAP, FLAP” out flew a female duck with Rudy on her tail. I thought the duck would collide with the house trying to escape, but she soared up over the roof. We laughed.

I really wasn’t paying much attention, but did notice that that duck was hanging around. One day I noticed her sitting in the yard maybe 10 feet away from me as I was pulling weeds.

Meanwhile, Rudy got into this ‘patrolling the backyard’ mode. It would start in the den, where I was relaxing.

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“Okay! You have my attention, Rudy!”

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He wanted out.

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Scoping out the yard now…

He runs to the east fence and barks at the neighbors, just in case there’s any kids around. I have just called to him to get him to stop barking:

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He’s at the gate now…
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you know, scoping out the action on the street.

Now he turns his attention to the spruce tree, strikes his hunting-dog pose, and …. CHARGE!!!

“FLAP, FLAP, FLAP”…out flies the duck from under the spruce tree.

Huh? Surely, she couldn’t be nesting back there?

OMG!

She is well-camouflaged – hard to see her but …. she’s there

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Here you get a little closer view of her – her cute little tail is curled up out of her “nest” (which is, basically, a hole she scratched out of the middle of a pile of grass clippings).

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I couldn’t get to sleep that night for thinking about the fate of that poor mama duck and her babies. Why did she make a nest on the ground in a suburban fenced yard with a dog? How could she possibly keep that nest safe for her ducklings to hatch – what with the crows, blue jays, robins and squirrels, AND DOG lurking about. If those ducklings do hatch, how are they going to make it safely to water from our back yard?

On Friday I went back out there. The duck was gone.

Oh, look!

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Something got to the nest already! These broken eggs were out in the yard maybe 15 feet from the nest. Oh, how sad. Oh well, thank goodness. It’s a relief, really. The whole scenario was doomed from the start.

Whew! On with our lives. I’m planting flowers. Rudy is patrolling the yard.

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Then he does it again. He charges under the spruce tree.

“FLAP, FLAP, FLAP” Out she flies.

You’re kidding!!! She has more eggs! She is still there, sitting on her nest.

Now it’s Monday. Rudy still patrols the yard, but I watch him and every time he pauses and strikes a pose toward the spruce tree I call him – and award him with a treat for coming. This morning he walked near the nest, peered over at it, I called him and he left it alone. Good dog!

How is this going to play out?

I am going to try and help that nesting mama duck under our spruce tree in the back yard.

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Leave her be as much as possible for the 28 days her eggs will be incubating.

The only predictable outcome is that Rudy will surely grow fatter from all the treats he’s getting for coming when I call him away from the duck. If we do see this thing through and those babies hatch out there’s no telling how Rudy will react to a chirping tiny yellow duck invasion.

Uh, did I also mention our neighbors have cats?

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5 Responses to “Duck Spring”

  1. Tom jones Says:

    Good stuff Jody! Very entertaining and suspenseful. Luv the pics, adds to your animated story.
    Thanks for the laughter,
    Tom

  2. Jody Caraher Says:

    Thanks, Tom. I might be a grandmother (of ducks!) soon, albeit, I do feel a bit ill-equipped for this

  3. Jenn Kerner Says:

    Love! Love! Love your sparkling energy….especially through your writing!

  4. dlc Says:

    Duck, duck gets a goose. Way to go, Rudy, big, strong, and brave.
    dlc

  5. Crony Says:

    Entertaining indeed! This past week my friend Ellen2 and I went to Notch Peak (search it) – saw a baby rabbit, so cute! We were glad that LB went after the mom rabbit and never saw the baby hopping along. Camped out in the great open hill/field all by ourselves, hmm, who needs covering?? Also woke up to a flat tire, so Ellen saved the day by bonking the 4 way lug wrench with a rock, and loosened each of those too tight to be loosened nuts! We did a couple great hikes and I scoped out the interesting rocks while Ellen took lots of photos.

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