Note to readers

Professor Ceiling Cat here. I am still enjoying a well-deserved break from writing here (though I do enjoy it), and am entertaining visitors and having lots of extra-academic fun. I’ll be back on Wednesday. In the meantime, please hold off emailing me any news items or other things until then, as they tend to get lost in the welter of emails.

Here are the ducks (still doing splendidly) after two big unleashed dogs (whose owner was, of course a law-flouting miscreant) ran by the pond yesterday). They swam to the corner on Honey’s signal and remained absolutely still for about 20 minutes. There must be an instinctive fear of large mammals in ducks.

They are all looking at the spot where the dogs were (15 minutes before) and Honey is third from the rear. You can see she’s barely distinguishable from her brood now.

To paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, “See you on Wednesday.”

And remember:


  1. Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    In Regents Park there is a section, The English Gardens, supposedly dog-free unless it be a guide-dog, yet idiots still ignore that. Not as if there is not a massive park for dogs to run around.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Are those hostas behindf the ducks? Slug free – presumably the ducks are one of the reasons… do they eat slugs, anyone?

  2. Roger
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Ugh unleashed dogs. The only thing worse than unleashed dogs is serial unleashed dogs whose owners should know better because they already freaking chased me before.

    • Laurance
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Ummmm….unleashed children…

      I cringe when a bunch of little kiddies are happily tearing around screeching too near me. I’m old and I have knee problems. The last thing I need is a little kid crashing into me.

      In a park is one thing. But in a store or restaurant is another thing.

      • Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Surely context is all. There are places where it is inappropriate for dogs or children to be running wild and other places where it is perfectly ok. What a sad world if either dogs or children had to be tied up(!) or constrained all the time. Responsible dog owners and responsible parents can give their dogs/children the liberty to run and play freely without causing a nuisance to everyone else.

        • Paul Matthews
          Posted July 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately, there aren’t too many places where loose dogs are OK, in my opinion (I’ll leave the issue of unruly children for another time!). The authorities where I live (Ottawa, Canada) seem to agree with me, since here dogs are supposed to be kept on the leash everywhere except specially designated dog parks, which are fenced-in. In practice this doesn’t seem to work very well, because loose dogs in on-leash areas are a veritable epidemic here. I’ve been aggressively accosted (barking, growling) by unfriendly loose dogs or been jumped up on by overly friendly loose dogs (invariably with muddy paws) countless times. A friend of mine was actually bitten. This all occurred in on-leash areas. The owners of these dogs are usually defiant and unapologetic (or occasionally they apologize but continue to behave in exactly the same way, which makes the apology pretty hollow). The lack of respect for others exhibited by so many dog owners is a major pet peeve of mine. And I haven’t even mentioned dog excrement. So much for Canadians being polite. Part of the problem is perhaps that there are simply too few dog parks here.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          Dogs are very dangerous animals.
          Dogs on the loose are a significant threat.

          I know ‘dog’ people seem to think otherwise but the never ending reports of savage dog attacks and their brutal consequences, say otherwise.

          Leashes or fenced, exclusive areas only, in my opinion.

  3. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “There must be an instinctive fear of large mammals in ducks”.

    Interestingly ducks will often swim towards foxes and dogs. This is exploited in the duck decoys which were once used to catch wild ducks for market and more recently to catch them for ringing (banding). The decoy comprises a pond with curving arms of water leading into a large caged funnel. The decoy operator’s dog (traditionally a small ginger dog resembling a fox) walks slowly along the edge of the pond and along the arm towards the funnel and the ducks swim after it and into the funnel (and because of the curve they cannot see they are swimming into a trap until it is too late). The decoy operator hides behind a screen until the ducks are far enough into the funnel when he suddenly appears and drives the ducks forward into the cage at the end of the funnel. Large numbers of ducks can be caught in this way which entirely depends on the ducks tendency to swim towards the dog (presumably they do this because in normal circumstances a closely observed fox is less likely to be able to sneak up unexpectedly from behind…).

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      That’s a brilliant use of closely-observed behavior, I had no idea.

      • boggy
        Posted July 10, 2018 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        In the village of Boarstall in Buckinghamshire in the UK, the National Trust has restored and operates a duck decoy, which can be visited and the workings observed. Obviously the original function was to provide meat.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I am still enjoying a well-deserved break from writing here …

    How nice for you. Meantime, the regulars here are all jonesin’, moping around the back alleys of the internet, tryin’ to keep the WEIT monkey off our backs. 🙂

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink


  5. George
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    PCC(e) – I think you could be described as a large mammal.

  6. yazikus
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink


  7. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Oops, I just sent some wildlife photos. I’ll send them again in a few days.

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