Light posting today

by Matthew Cobb

PCC(E) is extremely busy with the ducks today – Dorothy’s ducklings have already reached the pond, and Honey’s will be getting there today. That would be enough to distract Jerry, but there is an added issue – there are four drakes hanging around the pond, trying to get the females to abandon their brood and mate with them instead. Drakes are notoriously aggressive and randy, so this is fairly preoccupying. Jerry asked me to post this update as the situation on the pond is demanding his full attention right now, and posting today will be light.

As they used to say when the TV went wonky: Do Not Adjust Your Set – Normal Service Will Be Resumed Soon.


  1. George
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Youtube has a chat feature. If you head over to the At Botany Pond page, Jerry has posted some comments and answers to questions. The chat history is short. This is what is there right now:

    Jerry Coyne
    ​Dorothy and brood are confined in the channel because of their fear of the drakes. I moved the duck ramp to the channel so they could get out. This is very stressful

    Colin McLachlan
    ​Yes, I thought so. Stay cool. Soon see Honey plus brood 🙂

    K Brennan
    ​Quack Quack

    K Brennan
    ​I’m a duck I used to live in that pond

    Mark Kautzmann
    ​At 7:25 AM I saw you (?) with what looked like a squirt gun. Trying to chase the interloping drakes away?

    Andrea Kenner
    ​You are a good duck dad with a watchful eye. It’s almost as if you are protecting your OWN genes.

    Jerry Coyne
    ​Right now you can see Wingman protecting his own genes as he’s driving another drake away. But when there are three others besides him, he’s pretty powerless.

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I think Jerry is pooped. He is sitting on the ground with his back up against a tree. I feel like heading down to Hyde Park but I will wait for PCC(e) to put out the call. Maybe we should have a duck signal like the bat signal in Batman.

      Saw a hen with ducklings. Do not know if Honey has made it to the pond or if that is still Dorothy. Hard to count the little ones. Dorothy has ten and Honey will have fewer – is it seven or eight?

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Latest from the pond:

      Colin McLachlan
      ​I see the ducklings now, with PCC(E) sitting by the tree watching them.

      Andrea Kenner

      rick longworth
      ​Looks like a turtle on the beach.

      Jerry Coyne
      ​Things are going well, at least this afternoon. Dorothy and Co. are eating well and getting sun, and the marauding drakes have left for the time being. Honey will probably be at the pond tomorrow.

      Jerry Coyne
      ​There are 10 ducklings, in case I haven’t mentioned it.

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Dorothy is doing a great job. I wonder if she is a first time mother. The ducklings are beginning to wander a bit – as much as a yard from mom. Not sure if they are dabbling or just attempting to. Imagine just yesterday they broke through their eggshells and got kicked off their second floor ledge.

      Right now they are on the beach with a turtle. Unfortunately, Jerry is not out there to feed them. Facilities guys are moving the duck ramp back to where it was yesterday.

      Only saw one drake which was patrolling not harassing. So I assume it is Wingman.

      Quite a few visitors – well behaved – today. Of course nothing like it would be if the school was not shut down.

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      A picture of Dorothy and her brood taken by Nick Feamster, a UofC professor.

  2. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Reading around it looks like rehoming the extra drakes is the only solution short of a Chicago-style hit.

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Should have done it yesterday – The Cinco de Mayo Massacre. Has a nice ring to it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Now THAT’s the Chicago way.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Other than capturing those drakes, I am not sure what can be done. I suspect this happens when there is more than one drake around. It was happening here with two of them. One would go after the female and the other drake would follow around but he would get run off by the other one. It is crazy.

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Men are assholes. No matter the species.

  4. Jacques Hausser
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I was lucky enough to spot Jerry chasing the drakes around the pond with an impressive water-gun, but I’m afraid it’s not the good solution to bring back the peace to the Botany pond. Perhaps using a small drone ?

    • Posted May 6, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Or some kind of duck shelter? The moms and chicks can hide and the drakes can’t.

      Once Honey joins the pond, at least, then the attentions of the drakes can be divided by half.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Sounds like it’s time for Jerry to break out that big water-cannon squirt gun of his, go full Clint Eastwood on those rando drakes.

  6. Simon Hayward
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Is it time to consider what sauce would be most appropriate to serve with the drakes?

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Only five miles to Chinatown. A lot of expertise there in preparing duck.

  7. Katey
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I happened to be watching yesterday when I saw all the intense drama- I was getting really concerned, especially when Dorothy had to fight off a drake, and it looked like she was being dragged underwater by him at one point. But she held her own and got back to her babies. I think she’s going to be a great mom! And hoping she gets the best chance at that and those other drakes leave.

  8. Robie
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I saw some of the drama early this morning. Yesterday, the first time I saw the ducklings, they were swimming next to Mom and the scene looked so peaceful.

    It is hard not to anthropomorphize; I do feel annoyed at those drakes and I wish they would leave.

  9. GBJames
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Light posting today?

    • GBJames
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Sorry. I’ll get my hat….

    • merilee
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      You’ve been on the QEW near me, Greg!

      • GBJames
        Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        I don’t think so. Google found it for me. 😉

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Jerry Coyne
    ​Right now you can see Wingman protecting his own genes as he’s driving another drake away. But when there are three others besides him, he’s pretty powerless.

    Ain’t easy being the big mac daddy on the mean streets of Botany Pond.

  11. rickflick
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’d consider capturing the female and put her and her offspring into protective custody. Although, you’d have to do that for all the females. That might take some doing.

    In any event, I think Jerry could use a small posse of volunteers to take turns with the water blaster.

  12. Posted May 6, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Hey, this seems like a good place to point out that Matthew Cobb has a fascinating interview with Dr. Ginger Campbell on her Brain Science Podcast.

  13. Posted May 6, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I can see PCC now, sitting and watching over the ducklings. He is a good man.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Looks like Huck Finn out there now, sittin’ leaned against a tree, waitin’ for Tom Sawyer to come along.

  15. Posted May 6, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I hate to suggest this, but how about a sling shot and rubber balls? Ducks do love water.

    • Posted May 6, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      It’s illegal for me to hurt the ducks, and I don’t really want to. I want them to leave on their own, which they’ve done, at least for this afternoon.

      • George
        Posted May 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Just to make it clear – I was kidding about the Cinco de Mayo Massacre and getting help from Chinatown.

        Very peaceful right now. While the drakes may cause a lot of stress, at least because of your efforts Dorothy and her ducklings eat. Stressed and hungry would be much worse.

        Dorothy seems to be a great mother. She and Wingman have been doing a good job fighting off the drakes. Add Honey to the mix, those drakes better watch out.

        Another drake just appeared – immediately confronted by Wingman. How crowded would the pond be if school were in session? You could sell tickets.

      • Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Yes, sorry, I should have considered that rubber balls would be too injurious. Maybe a smurf ball shooter would be safer. The balls are soft and spongy, and should scare the drakes off. Well, I don’t even know if this toy is still in existence. 🙂

        • merilee
          Posted May 6, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          Don’t you mean nerf, not Smurf😂 I think Smurfs are those funny blue cartoon critters and nerf bullets are soft foam and still exist. My neighborhood kids have been shooting them at each other and we had a few on our lawn last week.

          • Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, yeah, that one, Nerf! LOL. I’m such a nerd. 😀

            • merilee
              Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink


            • merilee
              Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

              Just not a nerf nerd🤓

        • JezGrove
          Posted May 7, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          “Smurf ball shooter” – not sure Papa Smurf would be happy with that plan…!

  16. Posted May 6, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The ducklings are safe on an island now. And the turtles are sunning. All is right in the world.

  17. Posted May 6, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Looks like there’s a water pump in the pond to keep it aerated. Does anyone know?

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      There is a pumphouse just off the pond. It is a low structure but you can see it in some pictures – but not the duck cam. Water is pumped into and drained out of the pond constantly. Botany Pond is completely man made. It is not a natural feature.

      • Posted May 7, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Thanks. Many small ponds in our area do this too (owners/neighbors install a pump to keep it aerated).

  18. Posted May 6, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Surprisingly mesmerizing, watching the wild and human life around the pond. And peaceful.

    The image is amazingly sharp after it has a chance to fully load.

  19. Posted May 6, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t realise it was so busy by the pond. More humans than ducks 🙂

    • George
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      It quieted down around 1:30 or 2 – I think. The drakes were gone. One came back but Wingman confronted him and he left. Dorothy swam around the pond with the brood, Went to the beach then to the lower tree island. Her brood is already rambunctious. A few wanted to keep exploring while Dorothy wanted a nap. Eventually all joined her on the island. Hard to tell if they are still there.

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