Monday, May 19, 2008

Desire under the Maple

The Happy Couple

Today while cleaning pine needles from my Vinca major under our Ponderosa in the frontyard, I heard some loud quacks. Children from the elementary school were walking down our sidewalk and I thought one of them had a duck-caller. The kids passed by but the quacking continued and I realized the noise was over my head.

Two drake mallards and one female were in the tree above me. Suddenly, like one large bird, they three fluttered, tussling to the ground . The males were obviously fighting for the love of the female. Finally one won out and the loser took flight.

The "newly weds" tumbled off into our bushes where there was a quick rustling among the leaves. The consumation lasted only a few seconds, but the ducks emerged from the bushes content and tired. They settled under our Maple tree only ten feet from me.

I continued cleaning out the needles, stuffing them into a trash bag. The ducks slept, cuddling close together. I said a silent prayer that their union would be fruitful, that their ducklings would be healthy and strong.

After the couple was refreshed, they waddled across my garden to the sidewalk and continued on through the neighborhood toward the canal. My encounter with wildlife was ended for the time. When the ducklings hatch and start swimming in the canal, I'll be sure to take more pictures and post them here.

Question: Why would these wild ducks chose our yard to "marry"? Answer: One half block from our house is a canal. Each year this duck family comes back to the canal to swim, nest and bring up their young. We watch intently each spring for their arrival.

Two years ago, twelve fluffy ducklings followed their mother around the neighborhood down the middle of the street. When the babies tired, mom sat down and gathered her ducklings near. After a short rest, they were off again exploring the world.

A brief encounter. Just one more reason I like gardening.

1 comment:

Tina said...

How fun to have ducks so close by. We actually have duck crossing signs in our neighborhood because we live so close to a canal. They are just so cute!