Now there are eighteen

June 6, 2019 • 9:54 am

I got a call from the grounds people this morning that a bunch of students were trying to put ducklings in a box in front of the Anatomy Building next door. Since I heard this morning that a lone, tiny duckling was spotted in Botany Pond, I suspected that another brood had arrived. Sure enough, I found a bunch of well-meaning but baffled students trying to collect ducklings, with the mother quacking loudly nearby.

I told the students to stop trying to collect the babies and just herd the mother to the pond—the ducklings would follow. We did that and it was successful: the mother (who is not Honey) and EIGHT ducklings made it, though the babies were at first reluctant to join Mom in the water.

Now there are two broods, and Katie has, of course, started attacking the other hen. Nevertheless, I fed the new brood as best I could, and now there are two hens and 18 chicks in Botany Pond. This will not end well: I suspect that the new brood will be forced out of the pond and then perish trying to walk to another pond. I’ve alerted the University to see if the new brood can be removed, but I’m not hopeful.

So, here are eight newly hatched ducklings and a mother.  This will be hard to handle.

I was told by another duck-watcher that he’s spotted Honey hanging around puddles on the Midway, but without babies. That, too, is sad.

26 thoughts on “Now there are eighteen

      1. And wouldn’t it be something if it turned out that the same drake was the proud (?) poppa of all 18. Can Jerry arrange for DNA testing of the kids, 23amdMe-like? How many chromosomes do ducks have, anyway?

    1. You clearly haven’t read my (ongoing but infrequent) musings on this potentiality.

      I’ll try to condense what I can remember…

      About a year ago, it turned out Honey had been replaced by her long-lost twin sister, of whom she never spoke because the sister was institutionalized as a child for violent tendencies (she burned down the family vacation home). Honey eventually returned, once her amnesia had worn off from the blow to the head sustained by her sister when she tried to kill Honey. Honey’s paramour, James, was none the wiser to the replacement.

      Eventually, upon Honey’s return, the twin sister was captured by the police. She currently sits in a more secure facility, plotting her revenge.

      A couple of months ago, it was discovered that James was actually a Mexican drug dealer, disguised and on the run, named (if I remember correctly) Eduardo Rodrigo Rodriguez. I…don’t remember the rest.

      I have not yet written a story about this new flock, but I’ll get around to it.

      1. I know how it ends. Terrorists will blow up the pond killing everybody but then Jerry will wake up and it will still be 2016 and Obama will still be president and it will all be a dream.

  1. Surely there can be more than one brood in a pond, right? I know the hens will be protective and aggressive to other hens, but ducks in the wild do not stake out entire ponds, do they? There also seems quite a difference in the chicks — this new group having hatched quite a bit later. Would Honey have produced a clutch if she had not located a suitable pond?

    1. I thought that the whole university campus was an island of (relative) sanity in the (relative) mania that is the city – whichever city, they’re all pretty interchangeable in this respect.

      1. Yeah, she may recognize your whistle. I feel sad thinking her alone in “temporary pools of water”. And I read the Cyrus post before this one, so am disheartened today.

      2. Please do. I need to know what’s become of Honey.

        There’s a chance the two broods will settle down and co-exist, given the extra food they’re getting. But I do worry about the larger ducklings going after the little ones.

      1. The map shows a large area of water to the right of the Midway. If a move is needed this looks like a good place, at least on the map.

  2. I hope thing work out and a better location is found for the second family. I know that they are not endangered, but, aside from the aesthetic argument, they perform an important role, especially in a city ecosystem.

  3. The large water to the right of the campus is Lake Michigan. While I swam in the lake many times during my youth and was living in the city, I wouldn’t think it a suitable location to raise a brood of ducklings. The lake gets quite rough sometimes and the waves and water depth would be dangerous.

    So sorry to hear that Cyrus has died. I’ve had several friendships develop between cats and dogs we’ve had in our home over the years. We’ve witnessed “mourning” episodes when a death occurs and find it impossible to avoid a bit of anthropomorphic thinking. The whole family enters into the grieving process. RIP Cyrus.

  4. Oh dear — I wonder if this will equal the drama of Beelzebub last year. Didn’t really care if Beelzebub came or went but would like to see this mom and ducklings be okay.

    1. I am doing my best. . . . They are all still alive (there are seven; I miscounted) and the two broods seem to be separating themselves. It may turn out okay in the end, but I am trying not to be optimistic (I cannot bear to lose ducklings).

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