Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fine Feathered Friends

When I got back from my walk with M. this morning, Jim said, "Take your camera and go quietly to the pond out front!" This was the lovely sight that greeted me when I got there: Mama duck and ten ducklings! We were so happy to see them. This is Mrs. Mallard who visited last year, but was frightened off her nest. This year we carefully avoided working near the pond, and this morning she had her brood out on display.

When I was a kid we used to sing a little ditty
to the piccolo tune in Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." It went like this: "Be kind to our fine feathered friends, for a duck may be somebody's Mother." Well, this duck is a mama for sure.

She took her brood to rest a bit under the overhanging greenery. They all seemed perfectly at ease and peaceful as I snapped again and again, 19 photos in all. I really wanted to catch them paddling in a line, the way Jim had seen them earlier, but it
seemed like it was morning break time for ducks.
They were quite content to float quietly in a tight little group.

I'm wondering, Do ducks have an easier time feeding their young? I think these little ducklings probably eat the bits of green that grow in the shallow water of the pond. Contrast that with the pair of robins who have a nest in one of the spruce near the house. Either mama or papa is always rushing off and returning with a worm. At least, I think that's what they have in their beaks. It has always seemed to me that birds have to work so hard to build a nest with just their beaks, and then to feed their young.

This year I'm keeping a list of the various species of birds that I see on our place. Here's what I have so far: blackbirds, robins, geese, swans, ducks, owls, blue jays, cedar waxwings, mourning doves, a meadow lark, curlews, magpies, crows, starlings, a rock dove (the domestic pigeon), seagulls. I don't know the various little ones: sparrows, wrens, etc., so I haven't listed them.

Monday morning Jim and I were walking and saw a bird across the road that was an orangey yellow with dark wings. It flitted into the bushes so fast that I couldn't identify it. This morning M. talked about seeing the same bird, and named it an oriole.

There is also one she told me is a Thresher (I think that was the name). A very plain, medium sized brown bird that sings and sings and sings, a real variety of calls. It was serenading the world Tuesday morning when I hung out the wash.

It seems as if the world is just bursting with new life these days. In spite of it being a cold spring the air is filled with the chorus of birdsong. You couldn't find a more cheerful sound.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh. I love the pictures. And I love that you named mama duck Mrs. Mallard. Too cute!

    Your home sounds like such a lovely place. Enjoy the birdsongs!