August 31, 2007

The return of the ducks

Ducks have started hanging out in our back yard again. It's a group of about 10, mixed male and female.

Yesterday I fed them a bunch. This morning I didn't see any, but I put out bread anyway. However, it ended up being lawn-mower food instead of duck food.

Not totally; about half of it is still there, but it's chopped up pretty fine. Probably end up being food for the local sparrows, or chickadees, or whatever the heck they are. Itty bitty brown birds with black heads and little white patches over the eyes. They're really quite attractive, but I don't have the slightest idea what they are. (Update: I just did some googling, and they are chickadees.)

This area is lousy with birds, but there aren't really all that many kinds. Last year there was a crane in the stream a couple of times, and that was genuinely cool. But what we normally see are crows, bluejays, those little guys, ducks, and blackbirds. I don't think I've seen a robin since I moved back here. (When I was a kid, I remember robins being everywhere. I wonder what happened to them?)

I'm a little afraid for our back yard. There are a couple of orange lines spraypainted on the grass, with the letters "CATV" next to them. Clearly someone is marking out the location of conduit, and it makes me wonder if the cable company, or someone else, plans on digging the back yard up.

Not that anyone will miss the alleged lawn, of course; it's all crab grass and weeds. But it'll rather disrupt the economy. How will I pay my duck taxes if the back yard is torn up and the ducks don't come around?

UPDATE: I'm not expecting to see that crane back again, either. It was standing on top of one of the improvements put in by our local rodent civil engineers, hunting in the deep pool behind it. Unfortunately, last winter men from the county came through here and pulled out all the stuff the beavers had put in, the spoil sports. I don't really understand why they did it, either. I thought the creek was a lot neater the way the beavers had it set up.

Of course, for beavers, flooding is a feature, not a bug. That's probably the reason why. Regardless, our creek is no longer inviting territory for a crane, so I doubt it will be back.

Our ducks aren't mallards. They used to be, though. None of the ones around now have green heads. But some of them have bars on their wings; I'm assuming those are males.

I'm wondering if my memory has gone bad. I could have sworn our ducks were mallards. Of course, one possibility is that the mallards are the winter shift, and the whatever-the-heck-is-out-there-now is the summer detail.

UPDATE: Actually, they might be mallards. It might just be that there are no males around. The barred wings apparently are adult females.

UPDATE: Oh, for crying out loud.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 12:00 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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"Duck taxes"?  Steven, Steven, Steven... we don't levy taxes.  You humans just donate to the cause of your own free will.

Next time, make it rye, please.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 31, 2007 06:56 PM (CJ5+Y)

2 Well, it's not taxes exactly. More like a protection shakedown.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 31, 2007 08:15 PM (+rSRq)

3 Speciesism is an ugly thing, don't you think? 

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 01, 2007 04:43 AM (CJ5+Y)

4 You'd be surprised at how little disturbing the ground they can to when burying cable or fios-type lines these days.  I had fios installed a couple months ago, and they didn't dig a trench so much as a line.  The paint guide marks probably covered more area.

Posted by: RickC at September 01, 2007 06:44 AM (PoCOp)

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