Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ducklings Do Not So Much Fly, as Plummet

Yesterday evening the duck eggs in the hollow oak tree finally hatched! Mother duck had left the nest and was circling the base of the tree, quacking incessantly, while her fluffy ducklings teetered on the edge of the hole and refused to jump. Round and round went mother duck, her quacks become increasingly plaintive.

I spotted increased movement in the hole in the tree and then one bold duckling went for it. He kind of plummeted head first to the ground and landed on his back, bounced a goodly way in the air, and then took off after his still-circling mum, apparently none the worse for wear. The other ducklings obviously saw his bad landing and thought "no way". They refused to budge.

As the evening drew on, my other half could stand it no longer. "I'm going to hoy them out of there," he announced.

"But, that's not part of nature's plan," I protested.

"Yeah, well, I don't see that falling on their heads is part of nature's plan. I'm going to get them out."

So, up he climbed. "Oh wow," he said, peering inside the hole.

"Take a picture," I cried. Precariously, hanging on with one hand and trying hard not to fall out of the tree and into the moat, he did:

One by one, he handed down a duckling to my outstretched hands, and I then put them on the grass, where they were happily reunited with their mother. We counted out thirteen ducklings in total, and each and every one of them crapped in my hands. Can't say I blame them.

Our intervention doesn't seem to have done them any harm. They drew crowds all afternoon at the Easter event. There may have been giant games, birds of prey, exotic reptiles, insects, mammals, tractor and trailer rides, quizzes and chocolate eggs yet the ducklings were proving to be strong competition.

Unprecedented numbers of people turned up today. Our trailer rides were so popular they were totally over-subscribed and we had to shoehorn in an extra couple of tours. There isn't an ice cream left in the shop. My feet hurt. But, this is what makes it all worthwhile - a lovely couple of comments cards left for me this evening:

"By far the best place I have visited - lovely surroundings and good walks. The children enjoyed the games and quiz - a perfect day"


"I think it was the best I've ever been to - Emily, age 7".

And best of all, I get to do it all again tomorrow! Pass the wine...


Reg Pither said...

Didn't I tell you to trust me?


An Idiot.

cogidubnus said...

There was no need for all the fuss of shifting them - I've always found that ducks move very satisfactorily if one stands behind them muttering the word "orange" works so well that ours won't come near me any more!

Anonymous said...

.....but think of the enormous commercial possibilities should they succeed!

Doris said...

Reg,I always trust you....well, almost....

Cogi - you are a cruel duckmaster!

Anonymous - Maintenant, le canard... le landing... les wheels, bon.

stitchwort said...

Did any of them have 4 legs?