This post is for the birds…I mean about birds. Just bird experiences I have had around the Polo Club this summer.
I used to think baby ducks were a spring time happening, but they seem to be an all summer long event. That would lead me to think that there would be an increase in the duck population but, that too is wrong. The sad reason is, we have a resident hawk…and a lot of street drains. We have never been called to rescue a duckling from the grasp of a hawk, but we do get several calls to rescue them from the drains. What happens is that Mom hatches her eggs somewhere kind of secluded. Afterwards she takes her family to the water and often that means crossing the drains in the street. She just waddles right over the grates but the babies following drop right between them. Mamma duck then begins a pitiful quacking, calling to her babies. It is even more pitiful to hear them squeaking back. That is when someone in the community will call us. A few weeks ago Wally came into the office and said he needed help getting some babies out of a drain. When we arrived and I saw how shallow the drain was, I decided I wanted to go in and scoop out the babies. It was so nice to hold those little critters! Wally and I felt so accomplished gathering six babies into a five gallon bucket and walking over to the pond where Mom met us. It was neat seeing her across the water, us letting the babies go on our side, and with one quack all six were pulled to her side at wharp speed!
Yep, we felt pretty pleased with ourselves for reuniting that family as we walked back to the street. That’s when we heard it….another peeping little baby duck still in the drain! I could not believe it! Left behind, one baby was left behind! There were drainage grates across from one another on the street and apparently they were connected underground. That little ducky had gone back under the street to the other side. There was no Mom to call and coax him out. But amazingly, Wally does a pretty good duck imitation himself! Quacks me up!! So he began quacking and sure enough the little guy made his way out into the open area. We have a large cardboard we slide over the opening to keep the ducks from disappearing back into the drain. So I covered the opening and began to step down into the drain and scoop the little guy up. But that ducky squeezed in through the edge of the cardboard and ran back under the street . For thirty minutes we coaxed him out one side just to have him get to the opening and turn back to the other side. All the while, Wally is quacking! I think he was even improving a little! But there comes a point when you have to cut your losses and get back to work. We were at that point of saying, “one more time” when I added “and let’s pray this time!” Wally quacked, I prayed, and that little guy came out into the sunshine and we were able to cover the opening tightly, and scoop him out! We went back to the pond and to our pleasant surprise, Mom and the ducky siblings were right there and we let #7 join them!! Now, we were really, really pleased with ourselves!
At this point I should insert one of those WARNINGS for a violently graphic photo….especially to my friends who are a little too animal lovey-dovey crazy! Please turn back now, you will not want o see the next photo.
Remember that resident hawk I mentioned? Well he is responsible for the dwindling baby duck population. That Mom who had seven was down to four in a couple of days. And this could be the reason why…
Pretty cool to see really, even though I did feel badly for the baby duck. We watched the hawk sit on the duck until it quit squirming. Then, up, up and away it went with dinner. Talk about fast food! Another reason for the decrease in duck population could be that mama ducks just aren’t all that smart. What if the hawk comes back for seconds? Rather than take the kids and run for cover, there she sat at the edge of the pond, just leisurely floating by!
We heard about this Mama duck nesting in a brick planter box. The planter boxes are on the corner of each duplex and seem to be a favorite nesting spot for the ducks. Again, I wonder about their smarts. The window boxes are about four feet high and this one had a large bush edging the brick. I’m not sure how she chose this place, nor how she got into it. But there she sat, for about 21 days. We would stop by and have a look and really, she never moved or blinked an eye!
Then the big buzz was that Mama was hatching her eggs. We went over to have a look and saw her with about five newbies popping up all around her wings. So sweet!
We checked on Mom about nine o’ clock that night and she was still there. And she was still there first thing in the morning. I’m not sure if she was still hatching all that time or letting the newbies get a few hours in before they all jumped out of that box, scaled the bush and made their way to the water. I do hope one day I get to see that in action!
Here’s a bird tale I have no pictures for, except in my head. And it makes me laugh each time I think about it. Our dog Sadie is still a puppy. She thinks everything is a toy for her delight. We have a lot of robins at the Polo Club. I never saw so many before and I love watching them. Sadie loves them too. One day I was on someone’s patio with Wally while he repaired their hose for them. Sadie came along with us. Wally was just finishing when I and looked up and saw a baby robin either fall from a nest or pushed out for some flying lessons! Sadie saw it too and went happily bounding over to have a closer look. Out of nowhere the poor doggy was bombarded with a squadron of robins swooping and pecking and swooping again. They must have been the community watch birds! Poor Sadie did not know what to do, she ran in a circle trying to protect herself until she just plopped on the ground! It really was a funny sight!
Here’s a few pictures of birds with no stories. Along with our resident hawk, we have an egret who returns each year. He is such a graceful looking bird.
I have no idea what kind of bird this next guy is. In one of our recent rain storms Wally and I saw him just sitting on a rock by the pond. He was pretty good sized and at first we thought it was an owl. (We’ve been told there is a great horned owl that lives in the neighborhood too but I have yet to see him.) As we came a little closer, it was this guy! He’s kind of neat looking though and if you know what he is, let me know.
Lastly, on another of our rainy days, this sweet couple was perched on our balcony. I just really like the mourning doves! They’ve been hanging around my bird feeder most of the summer!
That’s the end of this twitter account!