Honey’s back!

After a one-day absence from Botany Pond, Honey was there this morning waiting for me. She was hungry, too, and had a substantial breakfast of corn and mealworms.

She’s clearly messing with me: absenting herself for a day at a time, making me sad, and then returning. I’m counting on a September 1 final departure, like last year, but until she leaves (and I go to California September 5), she’s going to be fed like a queen.

Blurry photo in early morning light. Note that her right wing is folded over her left. (She also flew from one side of the pond to the other, executing a nifty landing by skidding to a stop.)

Devil duck taken with flash:

Mealworms for dessert:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    As the Stylistics sorta said, the best part of a break-up is the make-up … meal-worm breakfasts?

  2. Teresa Carson
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The days are so short! Too bad you can’t tag Honey before she leaves so you know where she is this winter. I wish her a safe flight to her winter destination and a quick return to Botany Pond. Did you ever visit the ducks at Putah Creek at UCD?

  3. Serendipitydawg
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Growing up in Lincolnshire, the common greeting was “Hello duck” – I have no idea if this has survived into the 21st century (my mother still uses it but it is certainly not used in the far north of the county where I now reside.)

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted August 27, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      One still hears this expression in Newfoundland. People would say: “hello my duck” as a greeting. At least back in 2001, which was the last time I was there.

    • Posted August 27, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I remember it being used by my Canterbury relatives when I was a child in the 60s, though I think it was plural as in “Hello, ducks!”

      I was wondering if it was related to “ducky” so I googled that word:

      informal noun BRITISH
      darling; dear (used as a form of address).
      “come and sit down, ducky”

      adjective NORTH AMERICAN
      charming; delightful.
      “everything here is just ducky”

      I suspect they’re all related.

  4. George
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Does Honey go to visit the kids? I am curious as to where they are. Too early to fly south. Most likely in Washington or Jackson Park. I guess that Oak Woods Cemetery is also a possibility – it has Symphony Lake, Peaceful Lake, Lake of Reverence and Lake of Memories. Straight south on 67th St (about 1.25 miles). Also many famous people to visit – Harold Washington, Ida B. Wells, Jesse Owens, Enrico Fermi among them.

  5. Wayne Robinson
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    She’s clearly training you to feed her by occasionally depriving you of her ‘affection’ by staying away for a day or two.
    She’s adopted the methods of dog trainers who don’t reward desired actions of their dogs by giving a food treat every time the dog performs the desired action, missing giving a reward on a random pattern.
    The dog gets anxious and is more likely to do the desired action in order to get the treat. If the dog knows it’s going to get the treat definitely once it does the action, it’s less likely to do it. It thinks that it can miss this time and catch up later.

  6. Paul Matthews
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    This is just speculation but I wonder whether Honey is scouting out other areas with suitable habitat and food. I’ve often wondered why birds don’t just stay near to a good food source, thereby saving energy, but of course if that source suddenly disappears the birds could be in trouble if they don’t have a back-up. In addition, being too predictable or sedentary may not be good when it comes to avoiding predation.

    • Paul Matthews
      Posted August 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      This may even be for next breeding season, in case this year’s site is no longer good. Some species are known to wander widely after breeding (the phenomenon is known as post-breeding dispersal). I assume that looking for potential breeding sites for next year is part of the reason for this.

  7. SusanD
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Is the right wing folded over the left wing an instance of “handedness” in ducks? did the ducklings fold the same way?

    • Posted August 27, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      I wasn’t smart enough to notice. I am noticing Honey daily, though. And if she comes back next year, I’ll be sure to watch the ducklings. It’s an interesting question whether ducks show this directional asymmetry, and if it’s all the same in a given species (or differs among species).

  8. Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for these heart-warming posts on Honey’s adventures, PCC(E). A day without Honey is like a day without sunshine.

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