Monday, May 26, 2008

Make Way For Ducklings

Watch out Robert McCloskey, here comes the LutheranHusker household!

Our story begins about a month ago, when yours truly was mowing the lawn. I had finished the front, and had just started on our back yard. We have some landscaping along the back of our garage, with a little homemade brick border along the edge. I was mowing along that border when all of a sudden there was a rush of bushes and wings and flapping and feathers.

It was a duck, taking flight about 2 feet in front of me.

Now, when I mow, I'm generally in my own little world. I'll sing songs in my head, or think great thoughts about life in general, or just plain daydream. So when this duck took off right in front of my face, interrupting my mowing induced reverie, I pretty much jumped out of my skin.

After my heartbeat returned to normal, I took a look in the landscaping and found a little nest with four eggs in it.

"Cool," I thought to myself. I made a mental note to tell Sweetie about it, finished mowing the lawn, and promptly forgot about my mental note.

The next morning, I was getting ready for work, and suddenly remembered about the nest. We have a window in our laundry room that overlooks our landscaping behind the garage, and which provided the perfect view of the nest without having to go outside and disturb anything.

Except the nest wasn't there.

I swear to you, I looked and looked and looked exactly in the same spot where I had seen the nest the night before. No nest, no eggs...just a few feather remanants to let me know that I wasn't going crazy and a duck had indeed at some point in time been there.

I told Sweetie the whole story when she came downstairs, and we both thought it weird that there would be this nest there one day and then not. Without giving it a second thought, we both went to work.

That evening, still wondering what in the world had happened, I looked out the window again. There, right where it should have been, was the duck sitting on the nest!

Over the next few days, we discovered that our duck had ended up laying ten eggs, and that when she left to find food for herself, she always covered it up with bark from our landscaping...which explained the disappearing nest. We did some internet research, and learned that our mama duck was a mallard, that her eggs generally went about 28 days before hatching, and that once hatched the ducklings stayed with mama for 45-70 days, until they could fly.

As the days went on, checking on mama duck became part of our daily routine. One of us would look out the laundry room window and announce to the rest of the family, "yep, she's still there," or "the nest is covered." If I had to scare her away to mow, we'd keep checking until we saw that she had returned.

After a couple of weeks, we decided mama duck needed a name. So she became known as Oregon. (As in the University of Oregon Ducks...who by the way have the same fight song as my high school. But I digress.)

Sometime between last night and this morning, Oregon's eggs hatched.

Well, eight of them hatched. Sweetie and Kiddo were in the kitchen when suddenly they heard a crash against our kitchen window. A bird (totally unrelated to the story, other than this brief episode) had flown into the window. Sweetie went out to our back deck to see if the bird was okay, and noticed Oregon and her ducklings all marching single-file across our backyard.

She sent Kiddo upstairs to find me, and when I came down, Operation Duckwatch 2008 began. We took picture after picture and video clip after video clip of the Oregon family walking up and down the fence line of our backyard. It was amazing watching these fuzzy little balls of yellow and black...fuzz...follow their mom all around the perimeter of our yard.

Here's a video clip of the Oregon family wandering around the yard, followed by some pictures. Enjoy! (More updates to come as we figure out what to do now...)

Oregon's nest and eggs

The covered nest (eggs are hidden under the down and bark)

Oregon sits on her nest

Oregon takes a stroll around the yard last week

Showing the babies their new home in the backyard

A close-up of the Oregon family (not sure what the duckling in the back is looking at)



Anonymous said...

Mari has named the ducks..Duckling 1, Duckling 2, Duckling 3...

She is excited to see them, though I've already told her that she can't pet them.

Vell is excited to teach them his duck calling:)

I'll show them this video! Love, Auntin

david said...


Pastor Eric said...

Cute. Thanks for sharing.

krugie23 said...

Z and all the kiddos love it! Thanks for posting the video too. Post updates. Pretty exciting!

Rev Scott said...

Cuter than cute!

Anonymous said...

The oregon trail...LOL