Friday, July 23, 2010

The Ducks' Journey

The very first thing we did upon arriving home from church camp Thursday night was to check on the duck. This is what we saw: one egg shell. According to the 27/28 day incubation time we found, our duck wasn't due until next week. I hoped it wasn't a bad sign, and no one had attacked her while we were away.

But, look what Michael saw the next morning:

Aren't they the cutest things??!!! Yes, the ducklings hatched just hours after we got home. We are pretty sure there were 7 ducklings.

Mama Duck kept the babies carefully hidden in the nest and occasionally, if the coast was clear, let them wander a foot or two away into the garden. Michael's office is, fortunately, right there by her nest, so he could keep a close eye on them.

About 2 o'clock Michael alerted us that the ducks were on the move. This was the part we had been waiting for all these weeks. It would be our only chance to really see the ducklings because once the mama took them from the nest to water she would never bring them back.

Carefully, with furtive glances, Mama Duck led her babies across our doorstep and behind the bushes on the other side of the house to the edge of our property.

Then it was a short distance across the grass to the neighbor's garden. Up, over the little wall the ducklings poured:

Except for two that had trouble. After a few cute jumps, and the Mama coming back for the last one, they were all over.

There's Mama Duck, resting the ducklings and looking out for danger.

From the flowers they waddled across our neighbor's driveway,

and along the edge of her house:

Then there was a long stretch of grass to reach the next neighbor's lawn:

Across their lawn:
to another set of bushes:

And from there, across the sidewalk to the road: (I was hoping no cars would come!!!)

And then across the road:

safely to the otherside and into a clump of bushes beneath a tree. They stayed here for some time and we finally left as I think Mama Duck did not want us watching anymore.

Fifteen minutes later the ducks were gone and I think they headed between the houses and out these gates to the woods and the water beyond.

Upon arrival home this is what we found:

We tried "candling" the egg and decided to agree with Mama Duck that it is indeed a dud. We are leaving it in the kitchen for the inspection of the relatives tomorrow.

And so our duck saga is at an end. We all find it amazing that Mama Duck chose our busy house to have her nest. And I find it a special gift from God that we were able to enjoy this close touch with nature. I hope the kids always remember it. Can you believe we nearly missed the ending to this story?! I'm so glad we made it back in time.

And now today is David's 4th birthday and we are having a day of celebration!


willow said...

What a great set of photos, so sweet to see the ducklings all in a line following their mum. I'm glad you were home to see it so that you know they all made it safely.
Hope you had a good week and Happy Birthday to David.

SueJ said...

Seriously cute!

Heather said...

I'm so glad you made it home in time for the big event - what a blessing! I hope your ducklings enjoy a long and peaceful life! Wouldn't it be fun if one came back and made her nest in your garden next year? Perhaps your home will be listed as a 'safe haven' and the other ducks will pass the word, so to speak!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Happy moments!
We used to live a block away from a city managed pond, and everyone from time to time had ducks nesting on their property. I loved to go to the pond, pick up a duckling and give it little kiss on it's beak, then gently let it go.