Proprietor’s Wildlife: Last night with Bob the Duckling

May 5, 2021 • 7:00 am

As I said, I’ve named Honey’s stray duckling after our President, Bob Zimmer, who helped me with the ducks and has taken a keen interest in their doings and their broods. He was pleased to hear of Honey’s brood yesterday, which he called “beautiful.” Today Duckling Bob goes back with his siblings, and if that’s successful, I won’t ever recognize him again. It’s sad, but he belong with other mallards in Botany Pond. (I don’t know if Bob is a drake or a hen, of course, but I’m told the males tend to hatch earlier.)

As expected, I got almost no sleep last night. The displaced duckling wouldn’t be left alone in his box, peeping continuously and piteously, and I couldn’t put him on my bed with me as he’d jump off and possibly hurt himself. The only place he seemed comfortable was when I was lying on the floor and he could jump on me, peck at me, and run around me.

Ergo, I spread a blanket on the floor, put down some pillows, and spent an uncomfortable and largely sleepless night on a wooden floor with Bob beside me. Once the lights were off, however, he settled right in, burrowing under the alpaca blanket and into my armpit. Of course I dared not move lest I crush the fragile little guy, but at least one of us got a full night’s sleep!

So he’s here at work with me now, ensconced under my hoodie and pecking at my chin. He’s eating and drinking (crushed-up duck pellets and mealworms in a shallow pan of water), and is as lively as can be. When the weather warms up a bit today, we’ll try to put him together with Honey’s brood.

So here we are. I’m exhausted, but Bob is full of beans!

20 thoughts on “Proprietor’s Wildlife: Last night with Bob the Duckling

  1. Fingers crossed Honey takes him back!
    I’m hoping that last year’s mass abduction means she’ll be happy to ‘abduct’ Bob from you, so I’m optimistic.

  2. That’s certainly above and beyond the call of duty! I hope the mother and child reunion goes smoothly!

  3. More on ducks as strategists…

    I had successfully blocked my troupe of Muscovy ducks from getting into my soft-fruits garden…Blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries. They tried several obvious rules, such as following me when I went in that direction. And then they came up with a strategy. It involved going backwards fifty yards, through a gate, and then a huge arc through the fields, through a gate, down the lane and then through a hole into the fruit garden. It seemed to me that the route wasn’t by trial and error, but was a tbought-out plan. Scientific tests needed. When the got to the raspberry bushes, one would jump-up, grasp a leaf in its beak and pull the shrub over so the others could gobble the fruit. They took it in turns to be the jumper.

    Muscovado ducks have claws and can climb rough walls. THEY WILL EAT ANYTHING, BUT DO SHOW DEGREES OF HESITANCY AT MY COOKING!


  4. Is there a “danger” of Bob imprinting on you as his parent? I only know about imprinting from the utter layman’s perspective, but I thought ducks and other similar birds were prone to it. If so, even if he returns to the wild, as it were, you may be able to tell him from the others, because he may recognize you. Perhaps I grew up watching too many Disney movies…

  5. Bravo

    [ GIF Orson Welles clapping in Citizen Kane ] <- please accept this substitute for the real GIF – it is a famous one…

  6. Too bad that you couldn’t sleep last night, but you made a noble sacrifice for a fellow creature. I hope that today’s reunion goes well. It seems that an experienced mom like Honey should readily accept her wayward offspring. Hang in there!

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