I fear my duck is gone for good

It’s been more than 24 hours since I’ve set eyes on my mallard hen Honey, and I think this time she’s gone for good. Now I know I’ve said this before, but I have that feeling. . .  Plus tomorrow is my last full day in Chicago, and if I don’t see her then, well, it’s bye-bye duckie.

I was disconsolate making three trips to the pond today, laden with corn and mealworms, only to find. . . . nothing.

Pas de canard:

55 Comments

  1. Flamadiddle
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Aw, you look so despondent. Have you considered seeing a Quack?

    • ladyatheist
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      😀

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      *There’s* an antidote to this funk – cheese and quackers… ‘snot really funny though….
      (giggle)

  2. HBB
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, this is bumming me out too. Also, I thought the second image was a “find the retired professor” exercise.

  3. claudia baker
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I can feel the lonesome-ness emanating from your picture…

  4. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    But,that is a jolly shirt!

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I’d love a shirt like that!

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      Love it!

  5. alexander
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Well, Honey must have caught you packing for your trip to Poland…

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Awwww

  7. busterggi
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I hear the theme from Love Story playing in my mind.

  8. Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I love the shirt! This is the kind of shirt that makes going to work just a bit more fun.

  9. Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    That was one of the easier “spot the _____”, took me only a moment. It’s Jerry himself trying to blend with the background.

    😛

    • ladyatheist
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      😀

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Very good!

    • rickflick
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      As per usual, I missed it completely. ☹️

    • Kevin
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      🙂

    • Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:05 am | Permalink

      I clicked through to enlarge, and think I spotted another Jerry, to the right of the tree that’s above the bridge. Of course, it could be a lesser-spotted Jerry 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        😎
        The two species are hard to distinguish. Identifying marks are subtle – for example the skeptical arch of the eyebrow.

    • Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks. I could only see the glasses until you pointed the rest out…

  10. ladyatheist
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    You need a pet!

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Better to have loved and lost, old boy.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      You just as well finish it…Than married and been bossed.

  12. Craw
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I am wondering if the light on the front of my car is working. It’s on, it’s off. It’s on, it’s off.

  13. Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s like when you decide to break up with your girlfriend but before you have a chance to tell her she breaks up with you. You should be happy but somehow you’re not.

  14. BJ
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, Jerry. It’s good that you’re dealing with your feelings, but I still feel you should perhaps go see a psychoanalyst 😉

    And make sure to take plenty of cocaine

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:39 am | Permalink

      Yeah! Bloody shrinks, always cadging off your stash and never dipping a spoon into their own pocket.

  15. alexandra Moffat
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    My absolute sympathies. The entire story certainly makes us think about profundities.
    Smiles and hopes….

  16. George
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The current issue of the University of Chicago Alumni magazine has a story about the campus as a botanic garden. With some background on PCC(e)’s favorite places – Hull Court and the Botany Pond.
    https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/evergreen

  17. Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    You should know that winter is coming. It has fly in south ;).

  18. kieran
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry I couldn’t resist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yz4pcPyY2I

    • Flamadiddle
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Apt!

    • BJ
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Awww how did I not think of that.

      Well played, well played

    • Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      Perfect!

  19. Liz
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    “Seducktion…was both a science and art – a blend of skill, discipline, proximity, and opportunity. Mostly proximity.” – Dan Simmons, Author of Hyperion

    Honey might come back. It actually doesn’t look like you’re too distraught but am sorry if you are. You look relaxed and happy. I like the duck posts so I hope she comes back.

  20. Laurance
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible that she might come back in the spring? Might she turn up again when it’s time for new baby ducklings? Be sure to check the pond when it’s baby duck time again.

  21. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Time to sing along with Lightnin’ Hopkins’ lonesome lament, “Baby, You’re Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERqIjB-Ce7w

  22. Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I do think Honey will be back next spring. I had a pair of wild Mallards visit us for a number of years, just to nom under the birdfeeders. They were fond of perching atop the shed, much like a wind vane. Then the female would float down to the ground and feed while the male kept watch. And then it was his turn.

  23. Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    The allure of birds to humans interests me, considering we are not even the same class. I feel nothing for other chordata, although I would not harm them for no good reason. But I love most mammals and birds. Is it simply because they are endothermic?

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Regarding birds, a long time ago I heard the hypothesis that humans & birds share the trait of being highly visually-oriented. It was pointed out that people go out to the field to watch birds, but not to smell mammals. Both taxa also tend to be highly aware of colors.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      Diane’s got a good point, but there’s the general one that they trigger our nurturing feelings to some degree, being warm, furry and having eyes.
      The classic description of the “dead eyes” of sharks – wonderfully adapted chordates though they are – probably points at where humans have a problem with them.

    • Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      They are also often highly colourful (related to the vision thing someone else mentioned) and also often highly intelligent. I think maybe also the fact that some common species are also very *social* is a thing too.

  24. Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    “She’s leaving home”
    “bye bye”

    The harp was played by Sheila Bromberg, the first female musician to appear on a Beatles record.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Bye bye love
      Bye bye happiness
      Hello loneliness
      I think I’m gonna cry

    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      It’s too soon to lose my baby yet, my girl should be at home.

      • Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Our girl left home and now resides 12, 000km away in another hemisphere… unlike the Prof (E) lass she knows how to use PED’ s 😎

  25. Lee
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Prof Coyne- Your story is close to my heart. A few years ago when I was at a local park with my young daughter, a tiny mallard duckling who seemed not to be attached to any other parents or groups of ducks waddled up to my daughter and seemed to imprint on her on the spot. We ended up taking the duckling home (a bad idea, possibly illegal) and raised her to adulthood. She was the best of pets, following us everywhere. I woke up from a nap in the backyard one afternoon with a duck snoozing in the crook of my arm. We have videos of a hilarious backyard birthday party where she went on a rampage with everyone’s cake and drinks.

    Anyway, long story short, when she became fully fledged, one day she took off. We searched for her for weeks. My daughter (and wife)_were brokenhearted. It left a feeling of sadness that still returns from time to time to this day. In my mind, it was an illustration of the preciousness of life, the very unexpected good things that happen from time to time, and how very fragile and temporary those things can be.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing stories and photos of Honey. I wish her, and you, all the best.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      Nice story. 🙂 That you took care of her so well is probably the reason she lived to take wing when the time was right, and meanwhile she enriched your lives as only caring for another living being does.

  26. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I was disconsolate making three trips to the pond today,

    Campus police are searching for a stalker after a complaint received from a local mallard.

    Personally, I think Honey is tucked up in a nesting box somewhere, with occasional trips outside to be fed. She’s reading Mark Twain’s autobiography (another water-dweller) and particularly the bits about the repeated reports of his departure.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Lol!

  27. Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear she’s gone; but she’ll likely return next spring!

    Great shirt, Jerry!

  28. ladyatheist
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I suspect someone else has started feeding her at some other watering hole. You’re better off without her!

  29. Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Better that she leave you, and you be disconsolate, rather than you fly off to Poland and her wondering where her mealworms are.

  30. Posted September 11, 2017 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Frightened off by the shirt! 🙂


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