Tag Archives: ducks

Easter Sunday Surprise

Easter afternoon finds me walking downtown towards my parents’ house to celebrate with dinner and an egg hunt at our usual 4:00 time. I love living close enough to walk over and decide to take the route past the nest. I am surprised to find Mama Duck surrounded by broken eggshells.

The ducklings hatched on Easter Sunday.

It is early in duckling season. There are no others in the stream. These will be first or second brood. Last year I was out of town and missed them completely. Other years I missed the hatching, as well, even though I was in town. One day they were in the nest, then they were gone.

This time I see the new ducklings in the nest.

Mama Duck protectively covers them with her body as they scurry around behind her under the bush. I imagine they are practicing using their legs for the journey to water. When I peer in for a closer look, she puffs up and begins breathing heavily, gathering them underneath her.

This is the first year I got to see a duckling peeking out from under Mama Duck.

I give her some space to collect everyone before peeking in again. I see three little heads looking back at me. That seems like enough of a gift for the moment, so I continue on my way to the dinner, celebrating life and resurrection.

If you look closely there are three little heads looking out from under Mama Duck.

By Monday evening when Steve and I walk the dog, the nest is empty. There is only a scattering of broken egg shells. Steve suggests walking to the stream. After initial hesitation, I agree.

In the dark I see movement of a mama with her babies on the water.

Thursday finds me with a child home from school. She has a cold and is uncomfortable but not too ill to go on a morning dog walk. We head down to the water in search of the ducks.

Upon arrival, she holds the leash, sending me ahead to check it out first. Then you can hold the leash, and I will go look. I see mama with her babies.


The babies still have fluffy duckling down. They are so cute.

Papa Duck joins them, flanking the side, while Mama protectively guides them towards the water.

The duck family waddles towards the water together.

I keep my distance, watching as they move closer to water. They pause to let the ducklings catch up.

Mama, Papa, and three baby ducklings walk towards the water.

Once all have reached water’s edge, the parents pause, allowing the ducklings to splash a bit before launching. I smile as they swim away and turn to face my youngest child who holds the leash of the dog. She smiles, too.

We walk home together sharing memories of duckling days past.

Weekend Away

Sometimes Mama needs a break from the nest. Mama and Papa Mallard were out walking late the Sunday afternoon I returned from a weekend away with my mister. Dewey was waiting for his walk, so off we went.

The ducks strolled near the nest, quacking and roaming. They took off for a brief flight when we approached. The eggs were safely covered. You would never know something was growing in the shade of the shrubbery.

I am grateful for an adult daughter who tended our nest so that Steve and I could get away for a marriage retreat. It was a gift to take time to learn more about our attachment styles, our story together, and all of the things that we know in our head but don’t have time to engage with our hearts.

We returned with a new sense of connection and direction, with more language to use. Refreshed by laughter and caught off guard by tears, we dove back into the life waiting for us. It is a forever dance, living in the tension. We continue to choose to dance together.

Mama Duck

She keeps me grounded while faithfully tending her eggs. At last count there were four. Now she is consistently present when I pass by. There may be more. She keeps them hidden.

She offers a destination. I’m going to check on the duck. There is reason to head out for a walk and a reminder that it is enough to do small tasks faithfully.

She sits, rotating on her nest, building it up around her. Sometimes I see a beak, others a tail. Her eye looks out, feathers expand defensively. Small movements grow new things.

With nowhere else to be, she rests, trusting the process going on beneath her. I remember to trust my process, too.

I love mama duck. My kids laugh. I promise them I will not write about her compulsively. Only a little.

So that is what I do this first day of April, April Fools Day. I write about mama duck, because though there are many other things to say, I am tired and my words are few.

I climb onto my nest and sit, waiting, thankful for the gift of tea at a busy day’s end. I am grateful that my ducklings are growing up and that this April Fool’s Day has been kind.

Book Stack

It was a beautiful morning for a walk. I seized it instantly, grabbing a lone My Little Pony library book waiting to be returned, and headed out the door.

I love being able to walk to the library almost as much as I love using the online account feature to check for titles and place holds. I knew there were several books waiting for me. I did not know which ones. Library book grab bag for the win!

Halfway to my destination, I realized I had forgotten a library card. I did not think it would matter. The account could be looked up online. Walking dogless, another treat, I thought and pondered and cleared my head, or at least swept things around up there.

I am growing well-acquainted with the self-service book hold shelf. I know exactly where my spot is there at the top. Three books were banded together, waiting.

Carrying them to my favorite librarian, I asked if she could look up my account. She said, Yes, you can check up to three books without your card. I had the magic number in hand.

We smiled and made small talk about the weather while bar codes were scanned and entered. She walked my books down the counter, bypassing the electronic sensor.

Heading home I stopped to take an artistic photo, laughing inside at the eclectic nature of my book titles. I have a theory about them that I am pondering for another day.

Waiting to cross the street where the duck nests, I noticed a friendly face waving from a car. Two other drivers stopped at their respective signs and flagged me to pass. We all exchanged smiles and waves, and I was reminded again of why I love my little corner of the world.

I am not the little girl I was with endless hours to hide and read. Sometimes I am ambitious and my reading ideas are bigger than my reading reality. I think I can make a dent, though. I am trying to reach for a book instead of my phone when I have a few minutes free.

I look forward to reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, Dopesick by Beth Macy, and to spending a bit of Morning and Evening with Charles Spurgeon.

We will see what happens to the book stack.

How about you, Dear Reader? What are YOU reading these days? What should I add to my queue? Do tell in the comments!!!

Duckling Drama

The ducklings hatched while I was away with a friend last weekend. My husband sent a picture. It was more than I got last year which was a live view of an empty nest with a few broken eggshells. I felt grateful and said as much to him.

Last Sunday evening, I walked Dewey downtown to the water to see what I could see. There were a mama and Mallard wrangling a passel of puffballs. I knew they were mine and kept the dog up on the bridge, away from the activity, watching from a distance.

Late yesterday afternoon, my youngest asked if she and her visiting cousin could walk the dogs. (My firstborn and her husband were in town with the granddog.) I agreed with the caveat that I go with them.

They eagerly leashed the animals and headed outside. I followed close behind.

Can we walk down to check on the ducks?

I allowed them to lead the way downtown. The break in the rainy weather was nice.

From the bridge over the water, we saw a mama and Mallard with three little puffballs. Not far away was a large family of twelve ducklings, tended by their mama and Mallard. Suddenly chaos ensued as one of them wandered too close to the puffballs.

New mama pinned the wanderer to the ground, quacking furiously. With a flurry and flutter of wings, junior’s mama hurried over, giving the protective mama what for for interfering with her offspring. Order restored, new mama returned to her puffballs and the other huffed away with her ducklings in tow.

Following their Mallard, the large family waddled up the hill, leaving behind a straggler, wandering down by the water. When the lone duckling realized he was left behind, a continuous peeping quack escaped his bill as he frantically ran to and fro in the empty space by the water, looking for his family.

It was no use asking new mama for help, though he tried wandering in her direction. She came at him in a fashion that said, I dare you to come closer! Resignedly, he turned back toward the water, still calling for help.

Meanwhile, the large brood had flocked up the hill away from the water towards the parking lot where I was standing,leashes in hand. By this time I had been relegated to dog keeper while the girls sat on a bench watching the duck drama unfold.

Oh no! That duckling is lost! We have to help him!

They proposed the idea of chasing him up the hill, but then the duckling stepped into the water and swam to the rocks on the other side, still peeping and quacking.

I decided to use the dogs to herd the wandering flock back to the water. Leading Dewey and Wren toward the large brood, we watched as they ran back down the hill and stepped into the water. They began to glide toward the duckling, his peeping quacks still out of reach.

Excitedly the girls cheered the family and duckling closer, hoping to witness a reunion. Rain began falling in a light drizzle. I, too, was hoping for  reunion and resolution of this duckling drama rather than a lesson in survival of the fittest.

Suddenly there was a burst of speed as the duckling made connection with his family and came flying across the water. Literally. I have never seen a duck swim as fast as this little one who was making a mad dash to reunite with his raft.*

On the shore we cheered, then turned to head home.

* a dense flock of swimming birds or mammals