Duck Wrangling

Had a spontaneous good time with a flock of ducks at the park in town yesterday.

They were having a good time too, until HW started catching them.

When we sat down to have a snack we were immediately surrounded by the little flock of ducks (and one seagull), that was clearly conditioned to  the sound of bag rustling.  They worked up pretty quickly to eating rice cake crumbs out of our hands; a couple of females were the boldest.

Some of them found the whole eating out of the hand thing too challenging, yanking on our fingers or the fold of skin at the ball of the hand and wondering why they weren’t getting anything, while the food is right there on the palm.  One shy mallard tugged repeatedly on my fingertip and then gave up, as though he didn’t understand how it was working for all the others.

After HW got bit enthusiastically once, he grabbed the offender: “That’s it, I’m catching you!” He held her like a chicken, as she silently stretched out her neck and paddled her dangling feet a bit.  Passersby noticed.  After he snatched up the second girl duck, the rest of the flock got considerably more reluctant to eat out of our hands.

Ducks are very soft, and a little bit oily, to pet.  Their feathers are round, like fish scales.  Very beautiful, especially the mallards, whose heads look indigo when they’re walking away from you and green when they’re approaching.

Turns out they fight by biting each other in the chest, and holding on as long as they can.  One pair treated us to a good duckfight show over some prime crumbs, the female coming from behind for a big win, and the mallard trucking off with his tail…not quite between his legs.

One thought on “Duck Wrangling”

  1. When I was at school down at Pitt in Pittsburgh, I would get squirrels to get out of my hand in the lawn at the Cathedral of Learning.

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