Tuesday: Duck report

I never know when the ducks are going to leave for good, so I write each post as if it’s my last.

The ducks are still here, though Honey left last year on September 1. They may be staying past that because the weather is good, but I bet one factor is that this year Honey has a swain, the lovely and talented James Pond, the Giant Drake:

Yesterday morning when I went to the pond, I saw only James standing on the island, and he didn’t come to my whistle. But it turns out that Honey was sleeping behind a tree on the duck island, and quickly woke up and plopped herself into the pond for breakfast. James immediately followed suit. He eats a TON of food. I’m sure he’s got some domestic duck genes in him.

James’s talents include the following:

  1. He is VERY BIG and thus can protect Honey from the ministrations of other horny drakes.
  2. He can swim backwards very rapidly, something I’ve never seen other mallards do here.
  3. He waggles his tail continuously in a very cute way.
  4. He emits a low series of quacks, also almost continuously.
  5. He actually watches the corn in the air as it approaches him. Honey doesn’t do that. Yesterday, as an experiment, I asked Anna to pretend she was tossing him corn but not to toss any. When she made the corn-tossing motion with her arm, James actually looked up, anticipating the tidbit. He is a very smart duck.

All of this makes me hope that they are pair bonding and that they will migrate together to a place where James will protect Honey from other drakes.

James by himself, guarding Honey in the morning:

They had a hearty breakfast and lunch (three courses: duckling chow, mealworms, and corn), and in the heat of yesterday afternoon I found them resting and napping on Duck Island #2. I learned yesterday that mallards sleep with one eye open while the side of the brain serving the closed eye is asleep. They sleep with half their brains at a time, alternating halves. Ducks are more awesome than you know.

Here are the pair resting and sleeping. Note that Honey is standing on one leg with her eye closed:

Both sleeping.

The crawfish are out in spades, and the dirt part of the bank is lined with their burrows. Here are two burrows and one of their residents:

Here’s a short video I took yesterday of a crawdad.

Honey and James after lunch today, preening on Duck Island #1. I will sneak in tomorrow early to feed them before I go to the airport, and I hope they’re still here. If they leave, this will be the last photo I’ve taken of them in 2018.

7 Comments

  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Duck heaven. Lots of Catfish bait around the pond.

  2. busterggi
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    They look like a marvelous couple but then again, I watched Gone Girl yesterday…

  3. John S
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

    The green eyed (green headed, actually) monster has taken over his brain as the very same monster (little paradox here – old joke) makes off with the gentleman’s favorite.

    Can any good come of it, while the gentleman seeks diversion in distant lands, to help him forget? One fears.

    • John S
      Posted September 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Actually, the “methinks”, belongs at the end of the first line. (Just thought I’d get that in before some scholar belittles me.)

  4. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely couple. Here’s hoping they come back next year to raise a brood!

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted September 5, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Size of those crayfish? UC may see an increase in applications from LA (the one beside MS) as that video spreads.

  6. Lurker111
    Posted September 5, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I’m reminded of the story, perhaps just a joke, of a woman who, while visiting New Orleans, stopped in a restaurant and ordered the crawfish soup. She received her order and immediately called the police.

    “What seems to be the problem?” the responding officer asked.

    “I ordered fish soup and this guy served me a bowl full of BUGS!”


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