Thursday: Duck report

Today I begin heading home, which means driving toward the San Francisco Airport.

The ducks are still in the pond, though I’ve been informed that tomorrow they will be installing “several types of plants” at Botany Pond to fill in the landscape where it’s thinned. This seems to involve putting plants on the two duck islands, which is where the two mallards rest. That will surely disturb Honey and James, who are cementing their pair bond, and perhaps they will flee the pond. If they do, I hope it’s not for good, as I’d like to see them at least once when I return.

We have one photo and a note from Anna, titled “Sneezes”:

Turns out Honey is alarmed by me sneezing. But otherwise they are good.

Maybe they won’t be so good on Friday. So it goes. Stay tuned.



  1. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    No Honey reaction shot video? Show us the sneeze receipts Anna. 🙂

  2. yazikus
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I like how the light seems to have shifted into fallish tones.

  3. Posted September 13, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Do ducks sneeze? I’m guessing they do.

    • Posted September 14, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I dimly remember here or somewhere else online there was a thread about how phylogenetically old it is as a reflex, but I don’t remember where or what the conclusions were.

      • Posted September 14, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        It seems very likely sneezing comes with nostrils and lungs. After all, if a creature with them didn’t sneeze, it wouldn’t be long at all before some small creature would exploit it.

        A related issue. When I sneeze sometimes it scares a nearby cat which makes me wonder if the cat understands that the noise they just heard is me sneezing much as they do. Many would say no because cats lack sufficient “theory of mind” but I am not so sure.

  4. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Otoh, if there is thick enough vegetation on one of the duck islands, it might give Honey a place where she feels safe enough to nest. That would be cool.

    • George
      Posted September 13, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      I do not think the hen has ever nested at Botany Pond. Generally, nest elsewhere and then waddle over. Sometimes, the nests are discovered later. Surprised me that one year the nest was on the other (north) side of 57th Street near Regenstein Library. If the nest is within the Main Quadrangle, the ducklings do not have to contend with traffic on their way to Botany Pond. But who actually knows the way of the duck.

  5. Posted September 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Hope Honey and James wait out this hurricane about to make landfall along the east coast tonight/tomorrow! Could the pond overlords wait a little bit before scaring off the ducks?

    I don’t think the big island in the above picture needs any more plantings. So the ducks might be OK there.

    • Posted September 13, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      And like the BiG Head Cheese said about getting out of the way of the hurricane, “It’s gonna be big and wet!”

    • Posted September 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the pond needs any planting on the islands, either, but the University thinks otherwise.

      • Posted September 13, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Too bad. The trees and their knees are best left alone. If they hadn’t chain-saw massacred the reeds, it woulda looked just fine.

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