These ducklings are mallards now. . .

Remember that old semi-salacious Gary Puckett song? It came to mind when I was feeding my ducklings this morning. They’re hardly ducklings any more—it’s hard to tell them apart from mom.  Soon they’ll leave me 😦 , but I wrote them a song (below), a song based on “This girl is a woman now.”

First, the ducks’ new treat from Amazon (yep, you can get anything there!):

Steaming toward me in the morning, knowing it’s breakfast time.  See how big they’ve gotten?—and it’s barely a month since they were born. Mom brings up the rear:

A handful of tossed oatmeal:

My version (original from 1969):

These ducks swam in ponds
Playing in a lake of their own;
These ducklings were young
From fluffballs they had barely grown;
Then one day their world was changed
Their food and care were rearranged
And they would never be the same again.

These ducklings are mallards now
They’ve learned how to nom,
These ducklings are mallards now;
They’ve found out what it’s all about
And soon they will all be gone.

These ducks tasted worms
As tender as a baby’s rear;
They made a single quack:
A quack that was hearty and clear.
My heart said it was okay,
And on that sweet and velvet day
A duckling had died—
A mallard had been born.

These ducklings are mallards now
They’ll learn how to fly,
These ducklings are mallards now;
They’ve found out what it’s all about
And soon, yes, soon they’ll tell me—goodbye.

FUN FACT: Gary Puckett was born in the same very small town in which Bob Dylan grew up: Hibbing, Minnesota.


  1. Colin
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I just have to take this opportunity to say: Please do NOT feed birds/ducks bread. (You can Google why it’s not good for them). You can also buy “Hen Scratch” or “Chicken Scratch” at your local feed store which is more appropriate for their nutritional needs.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      I do not feed them bread,and I’ve said before not to. I’m giving them mostly oatmeal and now mealworms, which are good food for ducks.

      • Colin
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Yes, my comment was directed at other readers.

        I’ve seen people show up at ponds with large bags of white hot dog buns and start with what they think is a benevolent thing to do. Of course when I gently mention how deleterious it is for them, the people get all defensive; a lot of that these days.

      • Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        A question. Dr Ceiling Cat – did all the little quackers make it? I mean have any been lost or is the whole brood still alive?

        When I was young a mother duck was killed on the street in front of our house while leading her little ones across the road. The neighborhood kids took it in turn feeding and caring for the little ones. Sad to say sometimes we gave them bread – we didn’t know! Of the five who survived their mother, three made it to adulthood.

        • Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          The whole brood made it: there were four when they first appeared and have been four all along. Now Stephen Barnard has ELEVEN to watch, and we’ll see if those gadwall ducklings survive. Watch this space.

          • Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            Thanks. And good job on the song re-write! Unfortunately I remember the original and now can’t get it out of my head!. The Germans have a word for this; Ohrwurm. Literally (I think) “ear worm”.

  2. David Duncan
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Do you feed them the worms as-is or rehydrate them firsat?

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Dry. They suck ’em down from the pond surface with water, and then squirt the water out the sides of their bills.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    … that old semi-salacious Gary Puckett song …

    On this theme, I’ll take Neil Diamond’s “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” (or the Urge Overkill cover Tarantino used in Pulp Fiction).

  4. tubby
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m a bit surprised you can’t find mealworms as cheap at a pet shop. They’re recommended as a treat for a wide variety of small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Some fish, like Oscars, probably enjoy them as well.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I went to PetCo and had to pay ten bucks for a small spice-jar sized container of dried ones! Amazon was a hell of a lot cheaper!

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        As usual, PetCo wants to make a killing while Amazon wants to make a sell. The new rule of retail. Also the new ruler.

  5. Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Baby ducklings. Baby squirrels. All the life forms of the world, your children (except dogs?!).

  6. Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Good song! They have grown up fast!

  7. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Have you seen The Sopranos Jerry? Tony Soprano goes through something similar w/r/t a group of ducklings he finds in his swimming pool. Their departure sets off in him a kind of existential crisis.
    With him there’s a touch more violent mafiosi killings and a touch less writing about cats and atheism but apart from that you’re very similar.

    • Teresa Carson
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Jerry Soprano!

  8. Diane G.
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Here we are, in on the ground floor of your song-writing career…

  9. Posted June 29, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Looks like fun, and I have a big lake in my backyard with lots of ducks, but the association has signs up that say “Do not feed the ducks.”

    What do they have against ducks anyway?

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