The ducks are leaving

October 30, 2019 • 5:30 pm

Right before I left Chicago, and for a few days thereafter, we had up to two dozen ducks coming for lunch and dinner.

That’s over now, as there has already been light snow in Chicago and the ducks have dwindled down to a precious few. Here’s today’s report from one Secret Duck Farmer:

Breakfast. No ducks at all. It was cold, rainy, and in the 30’s. There were blobs of mushy snow detailing the parked cars. We are expecting the same weather tomorrow, except it might be colder and windier.

Lunch. One male duck by himself in the cold rain. He began eating when I got far away.

In the last few days, duck numbers have been in the single digits, and they’ve been fidgety and irritable. Honey has vanished. This is what happens when nature is calling them southwards.  And now, I suspect, that’s where they’ve gone: down the Mississippi Flyway. The weather in Louisiana is much nicer at this time of year.

We are empty nesters now, but are happy that, with the help of three great mothers, 26 out of 27 ducklings fledged this year. God only knows what we’ll face next year. . .


13 thoughts on “The ducks are leaving

  1. Congratulations to all of you who looked after these ducks. You are truly special people.

    I think a lot of the new ducks are previous ducklings who remember a reliable food source from kind humans. I suspect you can expect even more ducks next year!

    1. I was thinking the same thing. There could be several generations chez Jerry, not to mention the errant ones that fly in for the first time.

      1. I wonder if ducks flying over would check out what was attracting so many ducks to a pond that wouldn’t seem to be able to support them?

        Or does gossip reach the ducks on Lake Michigan that there’s a place at UC where there’s lots of food for little work?

    2. As PCC well knows, a population will grow at an exponential rate unless controlled by predation or resource constraints. With nine offspring per season, the exponential growth rate is high assuming a significant return factor. If PCC’s largesse is unlimited, and it seems to be, the limiting constraint is Botany pond. The duck population will increase until there is practically standing room only. Very Malthusian. Could be interesting next year.

      1. I shudder to think what it’ll be like. A U-Haul trailer to fetch their grub? And if they’re not fed AND photographed in the manner to which they’ve accustomed, they’ll mob the negligent humans and nibble them to death or distraction.

          1. Anyone remembers the scene in the Mel Brooks movie High Anxiety ,spoofing the film Birds ,instead of getting pecked to death ,Mel Brooks gets crapped on .

  2. Sweet, so would I,
    Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
    Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
    That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

  3. They are leaving for greener and warmer pastures (and ponds). Batches come and go hear on the river at our place. They’ll be back.

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