Neglected ducks get their first swim!

Reader Michael called my attention to this video of ducks that came from a “hoarding case,” that is, they were kept improperly and crowded, and had never before seen a body of water. Here they’re freed and see water for the first time. It’s heartwarming to see their instincts kick in, and their almost joyous behavior in the pond.

As for my own Botany Pond ducks, they’ve been gone all day. I never know when it’ll be the last day I see them for the year. (I’m assuming, perhaps wrongly, that Honey and James will return next spring.)


  1. George
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I saw my second flying vee of the season on Monday. This one was about 15 geese – flying south. The first vee I saw was flying north. Does anyone know how big a vee should be for long distance travel? I think 15 is too small. The birds take turns flying lead while the others have an easier time in the slipstream. I think you would want more birds to reduce the time a bird has to lead the flight.

    • Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      I think ducks fly in groups of about 12-35. There’s an extensive literature on how the V’s work and who switches places, and the results aren’t intuitive.

  2. Christopher
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    So much for “…like a duck to water”! Sorry. Somebody had to say it and it might as well be me.

  3. Claudia Baker
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Head dunking and twerking, just like Jamees & Honey! So adorable.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink


  4. Mark R.
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    That made me happy. U-Tube is weird though with the thumbs-down folk. 405 people gave a thumbs-down to the ducks…who the hell does that? A lot of innocuous posts have the thumbs-down. I don’t get it. Maybe they’re unhappy trolls.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Maybe they’re just sad they don’t have ducks. 😎

    • Posted October 4, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      405 out of 6.7 million views. That could easily be people pressing the wrong button by mistake.

  5. Posted October 3, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    So interesting that they were scared of it at first. I wonder how long it took them to get used to it. Were there any that couldn’t get over their fear?

    Lovely music on the video!

  6. Posted October 3, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of an automobile trip from Concord, CA to Sweet Home, OR I made with my elderly Mom, a duck and a goose.

    A family member had given them to my Mom as babies and she raised them in a pen in the backyard where they’d never seen more than a bowl-full of drinking water. When they were full grown and she wanted to come to Oregon for a visit, she couldn’t find anyone who’d give a home to her waterfowl. So, she put each one in it’s own cardboard box, put them in the back seat of the car, and off we went.

    All the way north on I5, we enjoyed the sounds and wing flapping of the duck and the goose. You should have been with us on stops at gas stations when attendants became aware of our back seat riders. Eventually, we stopped for lunch at a beautiful park along the Rogue River to eat lunch. Mom and I ate at a wooden table outside, the duck and goose with windows open for ventilation, ate in the car, continuing to make their presence known. Our destination for the birds was my daughter’s farm in Sweet Home that had a pond. Our experience in herding the duck and goose into the pond was very similar to the video you’ve shared as they’d never seen such a huge body of water or known that they were supposed to get in it. Eventually they did.

  7. Frank Bath
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if James Pond, being some kind of Mallard cross, may not be into migratory flight like his lady love. Is he holding her back?

    • Posted October 3, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      I’m not so sure that James is a hybrid now. His white feathers have gone, and he could have just been molting. But they do come and go together, so I can’t imagine he’s holding her back.

    • Diane G
      Posted October 4, 2018 at 4:08 am | Permalink

      Most domestic ducks have been developed from mallards. Technically, this is intrabreeding between wild and domesticated mallards and thus does not produce hybrids, only crosses.

      But your point that birds that have been domesticated (and artificially selected) for several generations might have different instincts than their wild relatives is well taken. Just think of dogs and wolves.

  8. Mike
    Posted October 4, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Lovely video.

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