I Throw Like a Girl

A Duck’s Tale

Posted by Carol on May 31, 2009

I was so busy posting about all the meyhem and mess in our backyard, that I never got to tell you about the polar opposite, the peace and serenity, that was happening in our front yard.

One day about two weeks ago, I was out front watering the planters of geraniums on our porch. As I was pulling the hose around to water the far planter (since I was too lazy to walk allll the waaayy to the back yard to get the watering can), a giant bird flew out of the azalea bush right by the stairs to the front door nearly giving me a heart attack.

As soon as I realized that I was not being ambushed by aliens or any other strange creature, I composed myself and took a look in the azalea bush. You have no idea how much I wish I had a picture of what I saw.  I actually did run into the house to grab my camera (who knew watering the geraniums would be a picture-worthy event?) and my camera’s battery chose that exact moment to let me know it needed to be recharged NOW.

Don’t you think it would be nice if a camera would say, “ok, just one or two more pictures and then I really need to be recharged, please”?

But, no. Those cameras are so temperamental and demanding.

Anyway, if my camera had worked, right now you would be looking at a picture of a perfectly formed duck’s nest, lined with the mommy duck’s own downy-soft feathers filled with at least 11 eggs. I tried to count them all, but I didn’t want to get too close and permanently scare the mama duck away.

By the time my demanding camera’s battery was recharged, Mama Duck was back and I was able to get this shot:

SS, Duck, and Deer 004Isn’t she the sweetest Mama Duck? You probably can’t see her feathers that she used for the nest in this shot because I had to zoom in from far away. So like a mother –  to literally give of herself for her babies.

Here’s the azalea bush she picked to place her nest under:

SS, Duck, and Deer 006This bush is right by the front door. We usually just enter the house from the garage. If I hadn’t been too lazy to go get my watering can that day, we never would have known she was there.

The lesson: laziness has its rewards.

Darling Daughter looked up the incubation time for duckling eggs on the internet. It is 28 days. Since we had no idea how long she was there before we found her, we really wanted to make sure we did not miss the hatching. We wondered where Mama and all her ducklings would go after they hatched. Would they stay in our yard, perhaps taking a swim in the pool? Or would they take off for the much larger and duck friendlier pond just outside our neighborhood?

Checking on the Mama Duck became part of my daily routine and I proudly but quietly made everyone who came to our house take a peek at her, too.

I was so anxious to see her babies. Each day I would go out front to make sure she was still there (I was actually hoping she had left for food or a potty break so I could get a pic of her eggs for you), but every single time I went to check on her she was there.

But not today.

Today when I went out to check on Mama Duck and her eggs, this is what I found:

Peonies and ducks 001An empty nest.

No Mama Duck.

No eggs.

No egg shells.

And no baby ducks. (I know, ducklings, but they ARE babies, aren’t they?)

And I also saw this:

Peonies and ducks 002It looks like something ripped apart her nest. The strange thing is that there is not one single egg or shell left. I don’t know what to make of it. Whatever got to the eggs was very meticulous. You would think that if a fox or other wild animal ate them, there would be some shell fragments left.

Do you think they could have hatched during the night and Mama Duck cleaned up after herself?

Or is that just wishful thinking, while I’m in denial that my ducklings are gone?

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2 Responses to “A Duck’s Tale”

  1. kimberlyhoyt said

    In my world, I’d pretend that mama duck and baby ducks made it safely away and were just particularly CLEAN ducks who didn’t want to leave a mess behind.

    Because I do NOT like the alternative scenario either.

    Wishful thinking or not, it’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

    ******************************************
    I like your scenario, too. I did look up “what happens when ducklings hatch” on the internet. Apparently, they all hatch at the same time, hang around for a few hours to dry off, and then Mama Duck leads them to water for food. If that happened, it explains the messy nest, but not the absence of egg shells. Sigh.
    ~Carol

  2. Amy said

    The exact same thing happened to me today! What happened to the eggs?? I’m so worried about our mama duck friend and her babies…she’s been in our yard for so long. I found the exact same thing as you have pictured above with the nest. Can’t find any answers!

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