When I first got my driver’s license, I was the most willing errand-runner on the planet. Never mind that it was a learner’s permit and Mom or Dad had to go with me. If I’d had my way, we’d pile into the car for each item on the grocery list and bring it home one at a time. That permit was my first step to freedom, the first stretch of my wings.
I’ve noticed an amazing similarity between my teen years and the Quack Pack’s coming of age.
These are my girls at the corn bowl in our back yard. They have a new way of approaching the bowl these days, a wing-flapping run that enhances speed, but doesn’t lift them off the ground. Not yet anyway. Give them time.
They flap their wings everywhere they go. Yesterday, the pure white one (she sports a brown tiara which the camera didn’t catch) was bathing in the pond–a hilarious site of butt-up action–and decided to catch up with her siblings afterward. She did the ol’ flap-run across the water but never lifted. Effective, but far from graceful.
The boys are the same, flapping wherever they go. Drake tries to keep them in line, but you know how boys are–Quien es mas macho? They want to show how tough they are. The problem is that one of them is crippled. In a display of cruelty I still don’t understand, Drake had stood on top of one of them in the shallows of the pond and just pecked away at him. Something broke or maybe his hip was dislocated–we never did find out.
So many times when we couldn’t find him, MSB and I thought some predator caught him. Then we’d see him huddled low in the shadows nibbling on whatever was closest. When we saw him, we’d toss corn to him, not getting too close physically because he’d try to run and the act was hard to watch.
But the way his siblings kept at him was stunning. After a couple of weeks, they’d nibble at him, just enough to aggravate him so he’d escape into the therapy of the water. He’d swim around and exercise that leg, then climb onto the bank and stroll until it became too much for him. Soon he was making it all the way up to the corn bowl. Although he walks with a straight-legged gait, he still flaps his wings with the best of them, like he’s pounding his chest and yelling: “I have car keys, hear me roar!” (or some duck equivalent).
If I could actually flash the picture quickly enough, I’d show y’all my crazy critters getting ready for take-off. It’ll happen, just wait!
As for my adult females, Hennie disappeared. She brought her new brood to the corn once, then we never saw her again. That was several weeks ago. Brownie, on the other hand, brings her one remaining baby up daily–an innocent among giants. It’s so nice to have a baby around again!
We don’t know how many were in Brownie’s newest brood; by the time the eggs were due to hatch, the rains kicked in and Brownie must’ve lost quite a few to only have one remaining. I did discover how the little yellow peeper gets across the pond: This afternoon, I saw her jump off Brownie at our bank. I never realized they rode duckie-back!
I tell ya, those critters are an endless source of giggles around here.