"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flight of the Fearsome

Now before you get too excited, you need to be aware that the goatmother did NOT take the picture you see below. There is a reason for that. But let's begin at the beginning. You see, when the goatmother and the goatfather first moved here, the former owners were asked about birds that visited. Things were mentioned like juncos, Steller's jays, finches, and robins. It was said that hawks flew over and from time to time an eagle, and, oh, rarely a duck would land in the pond.

Well, that was then, and you may recall that for the past two or three years, the not-so-occasional mallards have appeared in the pond complete with downy little baseball teams. Adult pairs are frequently spotted under the bird feeders digging for whatever it is ducks dig for. But this year, well, this year the goatmother got the bright idea to actually feed the ducks. I must say it has been more or less of a success, even though all that quacking often disturbs my contemplation. Now instead of just two ducks, as many as six at a time can be seen floating about.

Recently, however, when the goatmother started down to the barn, there came a flutter of wings accompanied by the most goat-awful squawking. The two departing figures looked like ducks, but that sound was certainly no demure little quack-quack. Well, turns out the departing pair were none other than wood ducks and it seems the female, when startled, emits a series of loud woo-eeeek's - and I do mean loud! Naturally it is just our luck to get saddled with one of the more composure-challenged of the species. Oy.

(Photo source:http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/american-wood-duck-aix-sponsa/nice-adult-male-sitting-water)

Anyway, apparently these guys were actually endangered at one time, but thanks to the efforts of dedicated wood duck house builders, their numbers have rebounded. I find this rather phenomenal since the spooky females sometimes forget which house is theirs, wander over to the neighbor's, lay a few eggs, then it's off to the mall. This can result in as many as 40 eggs in one box and, of course, not many hatchlings make it out alive - kind of like a downy mosh pit.

So you see, the reason the goatmother did not take that most excellent photo is quite understandable in light of the ducks' predisposition to timidity. I've seen her, camera in hand, lurking behind trees and sneaking about the bushes. Let's face it. A stealth elk she ain't.

Who knows, though. It has been *suggested* the goatfather build a wood duck abode. Hey, it could happen. And in the meantime, with perseverance, the goatmother might actually manage to get a photo. After all, there is a Buddhist proverb that says, "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking."
I would, however, advise walking like a duck.

1 comment:

Millie said...

Ducks! We have noisy ducks that used to run around digging holes and playing in our water. Now we have geese! They are like giant mean ducks. Be glad you don't have them.