Honey’s back again!

UPDATE: According to Anna, Honey is at the pond this morning.

Well, I don’t know what’s up with Mother Duck. She’s vanished twice in the last week. The first time was after the Great Chainsaw Episode, when both she and Phoebe disappeared. Then Phoebe reappeared after a day and, a day after that, so did Honey; and for one brief shining moment (one day) they shared the pond—mother and daughter. Then Phoebe left several days ago—apparently for good. Honey was on her own for a day, and then she disappeared two days ago.

Yesterday she reappeared, and Anna sent two photos of her eating mealworms, which, along with corn, she appears to be downing ravenously. Fueling up!

I can’t remember if Honey did this disappearing/reappearing act last year, but I hope she stays till I get back to Chicago tomorrow. Anna reports that Honey looks beautiful, an adjective I’d never thought to apply to her (“cute” or “rotund” or “caring” came easier to mind). But she is a beautiful duck.

What is she doing now? You got me. My theory, which is mine, is that she’s testing her nascent flying abilities since her flight feathers don’t seem completely grown. Perhaps she’s doing test flights around the neighborhood, and hanging out somewhere else, only to return when she gets hungry. All Anna and I can do is promise to treat her like a queen, giving her plenty of corn and mealworms, until her instincts take over and she leaves us for the winter. I do hope we see her next year. If she shows up, how many ducklings will she have next time?

On another note, the meeting at Kent has been nothing short of spectacular, with many really nice talks and discussions. I have photos and even video of some of them, and will report when I return. The meeting ended this evening with a discussion/musical interlude featuring Wynton Marsalis and a terrific pianist, ending with him coming off stage and playing, on the floor in front of the first row of seats, a song he wrote called “Goodbye”. What a lovely man, and what wonderful music! It was a fitting end to one of the best meetings I’ve ever been to.

Thanks to Ben and Donna Rosen for making this meeting possible, and all the many people who cooked, serve, drove, and made life easy for the speakers and attendees. Videos of all talks, including mine (I was introduced by Harold Varmus), will be online before too long, and I’ll let you know.


  1. Rita
    Posted August 19, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I was pretty sure Honey would return at least one more time. It’s early days yet.

  2. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 19, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Honey the test pilot.

  3. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted August 19, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Is it legal to put an identification band on a duck? They put them on birds, so why not a duck? I believe they are metallic, but they might be some kind of plastic. They are attached to a leg. Is this a good idea?
    John J. Fitzgerald

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 19, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      The bands are usually aluminium – the aluminium can be coloured

      Because banding birds requires capturing the birds and handling them before the banding takes place, bird banding in the U.S. is controlled under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and requires a federal banding permit. Some states require a state permit as well. Only official federal bands may be legally placed on birds that are released to the wild within the U.S.

      Permits are free. MORE INFO HERE

      • John J. Fitzgerald
        Posted August 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Michael.

  4. Brad
    Posted August 19, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Horray for you and for Honey! She is just preparing for that long flight to southern/warmer climes. If all goes well, she will be back next spring! She KNOWS where home is (not to mention good food) for her. Some of the progeny may also make it back for spring rites. It may get crowded!

  5. Bob Gilbert
    Posted August 19, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    It is with great temerity that I suggest that PCC(E) might perhaps have misunderstood Wynton Marsalis.

    RE: “Wynton Marsalis… a song he wrote called ‘Goodbye’.” Unless he purloined the song title, I suspect Marsalis performed “Goodbye,” which was written by Gordon Jenkins, and published in 1935. In the Dizzy’s Club video linked below, Marsalis explains that “Goodbye” was Benny Goodman’s theme song.


  6. Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad Honey is back to afford you a proper goodbye when it’s her time to migrate. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s been a little confused by your absence, Jerry, and might have been wandering around looking for you.

    Wynton Marsalis is a wonderful musician and a favourite of mine.

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