Sunday duck report: Heartbreak at Botany Pond

James returned to Botany Pond yesterday—alone. Honey was no doubt off somewhere canoodling with her new lover Billzebub, who won the Big Duck Fight two days ago.

Anna found James yesterday evening, and tried to feed him, but he wasn’t interested in food, and swam away from her. James was heartbroken, as are Anna and I.  James had returned to Botany Pond, I think, to wait for Honey, who had always come back to him when she departed for a day. Not this time, I think, as she’s in the wings of the nefarious Devil Duck.

James has been sitting on the duck island and the cement rings, looking disconsolate. This morning I tried to feed him and he ate only a few bites. This afternoon was a bit better: he twerked, preened, and then jumped in the water and had a hearty lunch.

Here’s how I found him at noon, sitting forlornly on Island #2.

A closer view:

Nature will be nature, and I can’t force Honey to love a duck that Anna and I like. She wants an aggressive male who will fight for her, and I suppose James is too polite. Honey didn’t want an arranged marriage. . .

Still, James perked up a bit this afternoon. He was preening and twerking on the island, and probably recovering from his fight (note that he’s missing some brown feathers in his chest, probably removed by Billzebub during the fight). But he’s waggling his butt as jauntily as ever, and I am a bit uplifted:

You can see him perk up when I called him and tossed him food, and he jumped in the water for some noms. Anna and I will of course keep feeding him and give him what love we humans can.

And so The Days of Duck Lives continues. . .


  1. Posted October 7, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I love your duck vignettes! “Days of Duck Lives!” 😹

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink


  2. Posted October 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    And yet you rescued Billzebub when you had him trapped. With Billzebub out of the way, Honey would have come to her senses. You must have some very mixed feelings right now.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I wrote about it yesterday. But I had no choice about saving Billzebub: I couldn’t let any animal remain trapped or suffer. Of course that gives me a bit of cognitive dissonance, but even if Billzebub had died there’s no guarantee that another drake wouldn’t have displaced James.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Like Butch Coolidge coming to the aid of Marsellus Wallace to spare him further depredation by Zed in Pulp Fiction (the hero rescuing the antagonist being a common trope in fiction and film).

      The Chivalric Code lives on at Botany Pond! 🙂

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Although we must remember that Butch took advantage of the favor to get off the hook with Marcellus’ organization, for whom he worked (or threw fights, at least).

        Are you suggesting that Jerry is actually a minion of the Prince of Duck Demons?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          I’m not so sure Butch was motivated by ancillary gain in the moment; getting a pass for throwing the fight seemed more of a serendipity of circumstance.

          I’m sure Jerry would’ve been pleased had the Devil Duck got gone and stayed gone, having lost all his Botany Pond privileges. 🙂

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Better to have loved and lost, fair Jimmy.

    Can we sign James up for one of those Charles Atlas courses — you know, the ones in the back of the comic books when we were kids, where the 97-pound weakling who got sand kicked in his face trained until he could come back and kick the bully’s ass?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      While you’re at it, get him some x-ray specs so he can see what those turtles are hiding under their shells.

  4. Steve Gerrard
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    James Pond is in the dreaded “friend zone.” He and Honey are “just friends.” James knows what to do, though. Move on and find another!

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Yep. Sex up your facebook page, and claim you are the one ended it.

  5. caroline burton
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh I’m so heartbroken for James as I’ve been following their romantic dalliance with great interest and I’m sure like all your readers wanted it to end happily ever after. But I guess the lesson comes from evolution itself.
    The female of the species are mostly the carers of their young and they can spot a future genetic superman when he comes along.
    I think the other lesson is not to intervene
    in natural behaviour however great the temptation to do so unless serious harm to an animal is about to be done. I’m sure Honey did/does love James, and perhaps she’ll return to him one day. If not I can only hope that another lovely lady comes along to keep him company. He’d probably make a lovely and loving dad even if he’s not Superman! Best wishes from the mother of another James

  6. Merilee
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    My daughter is working with an old German lady who has dementia and who keeps talking to my daughter in German, which dd does not understand. I suggested she play this baby duck song, which I learned as a kid, to the woman. My granddaughter loved the images.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Lovely song! And I can understand every word!

      • Diane G
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        And with the sweet animations, I think I can ascertain what most of the German words mean. 🙂

        • Merilee
          Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          HEad in the water, tail in the “high”🤓

          • Diane G
            Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            “the’high'”? Whoops.

            • Merilee
              Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

              Implying up in the air. Höh means high, but you wouldn’t say up in the high in English.
              I think my dear departed mother could still sing it in her 80s when she was otherwise starting to lose the plot😬

              • Diane G
                Posted October 8, 2018 at 12:10 am | Permalink

                I thought that would be the explanation. 🙂

                Yep, old memories die last, and musical ones are really deep rooted.

                Sadly, some of mine are beer jingles from ~ 1960.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I used to work with an autistic kid (here in Germany) who was clearly of normal intelligence and understood basically everything, but never spoke except for singing that song occasionally!

      • Merilee
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        I think in Vienna I learned Enterleinen instead of Entchen ( different diminutive), but I still remember 5-year-old me trying to get my dad to say “Schwantz in der Höh” properly. Amazing how one remembers the words to childhood songs so much more easily than what we read yesterday.

      • Merilee
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        One of my 11th grade students had a German mother and Nigerian father. Somehow we ended up singing that song together at the end of class, much to the amusement (bemusement)of the other Canadian kids.

        • Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink


          • Claudia Baker
            Posted October 8, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink


  7. Merilee
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


  8. Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Duck daze! a Tragedy of the Pond.

  9. Nigel Blakley
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    A Greek tragedy in the making? Time for the chorus?

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful but there is something curious about a brilliant geneticist who I greatly admire sharing anthropomorphic posts about his backyard ducks.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I am deeply sorry for offending your sensibilities. Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help?

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I do mean to be respectful when I say that a “brilliant geneticist” who loves life in its’ many forms beyond the research aspect gives me hope for humanity. I hope I am learning “to go and do likewise”.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink


      • Posted October 7, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        An anthropomorphizing atheist beats a bow-hunting Christian, any day.

  10. Ann German
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth (not a lot, I’m guessing), I think that James is disconsolate over the pussy grabber’s “victory” hoisting Judge Boofer onto SCOTUS. It sure has me in the dumps.

  11. Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    A Sonnet… for James
    W. Shakespeare

    Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
    And like enough thou know’st thy estimate:
    The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
    My bonds in thee are all determinate.
    For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
    And for that riches where is my deserving?
    The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
    And so my patent back again is swerving.
    Thyself thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing,
    Or me, to whom thou gavest it, else mistaking;
    So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
    Comes home again, on better judgment making.
    Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
    In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

  12. James Walker
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s not to judge friend’s choices in partners, no matter how much I might want to … 😉

  13. Posted October 28, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Poor James! Though it makes sense that Honey went for the genes of the better fighter.

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