Ice ducks and other things

February 25, 2021 • 2:15 pm

The weather has warmed up, and the ice is slowly melting on Botany Pond. And so we’ve acquired ducks: up to six during the last three days. It all started with a pair of ducks I didn’t recognize, but they were probably our own since they came toward me and knew exactly what to do with the duck pellets I tossed them.  These photos were taken three days ago when a small “spa” of water opened up around the bubblers. And open water = ducks!

The lovely hen (not Honey):

And her handsome drake:

Of course I fed them, because it was cold. They can’t walk very well on the thin ice, and it’s comical when they slip (they don’t hurt themselves, though, as they have great balance).

Right now there are five (three drakes, two hens), and I have to decide whether to feed them or not. I do want Honey to breed here this year, and that means not luring other hens to the pond:

There was a lovely sunset that night, with the disappearing light burnishing the skyscrapers with gold highlights:


8 thoughts on “Ice ducks and other things

  1. You may not want to lure other hens to the pond but they could be ones born there in past years and call the pond home.

  2. In honor of George Harrison’s birthday, is it reasonable to quote,

    “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
    Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear.”

  3. it’s comical when they slip (they don’t hurt themselves, though, as they have great balance)

    Possibly as important, they’re fairly light and close to ground level. Not a lot of kinetic energy to dispose of.
    As JBS Haldane allegedly said, if dropped down a thousand metre mineshaft, a mouse would walk away, a rat would break bones, a man would excavate a crater and a horse would splash. These dinosaurs are near the mouse end of the spectrum. (Actually, I suspect Haldane needs a bit of recalibration. A 100m drop is sufficient to get significant splashing from a human.)
    Didn’t PCC(E) mention skyting fundament over fore-end a few days ago? My most memorable result of doing such was what the A+E doctor described as “an absolute classic of a greenstick fracture” : elbow goes back to try to regain balance ; impacts ground ; bone bends and almost breaks, but lots of microfractures. A nicely evocative phrase testifying to the lovely complexity of apatite crystals in a collagen matrix. “Tough” being more important than “hard”.

  4. No open water (or ducks) here in the northern suburbs. However, for the first time in weeks six Canada geese turned up to clean up around the bird feeders. They just flew off into the gathering gloom. As soon as we see liquid water on the pond, the ducks will be back!

  5. I don’t imagine that I will be in Chicago in the foreseeable future. But if I do, I want to see that pond and the famous ducks.
    When we lived on our boat, the ducks there would wake us up when they nibbled at the algae on the waterline. The sounds they made were sort of alarming, until you figure out what is making them.

  6. Love the ducks – I’ve only got pigeons here.
    Your cityscape of Chicago looks almost identical to mine. I live in Chelsea, Manhattan and look over to the financial district south of me – it glints gold like that also.

    Apparently, according the psychology, there are human “thrills” that don’t regress or depreciate with time: plastic surgery, tattoos etc.

    But also, *I* think, a good view and a dog don’t regress with time.
    Or in the words of Led Zeppelin: “you make me happy every single day.”

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