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On Ducks and Geese

This is Girlie Girl . . .


Not to be confused with Little Girl, of course . . .


Reading Deb's post about the goslings at Poplar and getting Jenny's request to sign a petition to save the Canada geese of Ballwin, Missouri from mass extermination reminded me how much I miss the wildlife at the neighborhood we lived in from 2002-early 2005. It wasn't much–clusters of mushroom-like townhouses that are ubiquitous in Florida–but it was on a lake. And a dead end. So there was no traffic, no noise, and each day we awoke to the drama of the creatures who lived right outside our door.

If you pay attention you realize who likes whom, who's a loner, where the nests are, and that, for instance, Muscovy ducks like those above have routines and rituals that involve seeking, pleasure, sun bathing, lots of grooming, and if they have a certain personality, a desire to connect with those around them, including humans. And I'm not referring to a duck marching up to you in search of food; I'm referring to a duck inching closer to you as you sit by the lake–without any food–and sitting close to you and looking right into your eyes while she grooms or settles in for a nap. As interesting are the ones who deliberately stay quite a distance from you, tossing you a suspicious glance every now and then, and going out of their way to avoid coming too close.

I've written about the much-maligned Muscovy ducks before, and at our old house this time of year I was usually inundated with rescue situations and of course my patio often had images like this . . .


Now I have the drama of the feral cats and of course the greyhounds.
There's never a shortage of creatures who need our help. Creatures have come in phases for me: the duck phase, the cat phase, the dog phase, the bear phase (I was living in Vermont–it was unavoidable), the Canada goose phase. And by phase I mean I have intense and frequent experiences with them or around them that cause me to learn more about them than I thought I ever wanted to learn.
And each time I learn the same things. They all want to live their lives, free of pain and free of our "management." They all want freedom to do what comes naturally to them and what they choose to do. Sure, they want the basics of food and water and safety, but they want so much more than that, as you can see when you take them time to watch them live.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for sharing Mary… yes indeed they all want to live their lives. There's a bunny that visits my backyard daily – He and the chickens have absoultely no problems sharing the grass together. I often wish we were as tolerant… as they are to each other.

    May 12, 2009
  2. Don't worry about missing the ducks. They've all come to live with me on the south shore of Long Island. 🙂

    May 13, 2009
  3. Angie #

    I do live in Miami. This morning, I almos die when I find out that it was an exterminator company picking the ducks around this condominium. They were injured and that people just told me they were going to be relocated!!!! I don't think so, maybe they will eat them, what can I do? who protects these ducks????

    December 21, 2009
  4. Mary #

    The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, I believe, recently hired someone to help people who want to help muscovies and to stop neighborhoods from killing them (all my words). I suggest contacting them for help.

    Animal Rights Foundation of Florida
    1431 N. Federal Highway
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304

    tel: (954) 727-ARFF

    December 21, 2009
  5. My lake across the street used to have dozens of muscovies. There were several families – mommas, chicks and all. There were big arguments between those who lived on the lake and those who brought day old bread to feed the ducks… I can see who won – The lake is now silent and "sterile". Some flocks found alternate homes in the filthy roadside ditches…

    So now all the homeowners can breath a sigh of relief – They don't have to clean their docks of bird poop any more. 🙁

    December 21, 2009

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