We have an established pattern in our household (one of those quirky little rituals that spring up in families) that entails me singing Five Little Ducks to my my middle child Jonathan every single night at bedtime. If you’ve ever been one to wonder what those ducklings were up to when they went missing, perhaps I can provide an answer.
This past Saturday, Tricia was out front working on some flower beds when she started making a commotion near the front door. I walked over to the entryway, at which point she yelled throught the window next to the door that there was a baby bird of some sort at the front door and I was not, under any circumstances, to open the door. Naturally, I opened the door and said, “Really?”
The moment the door opened a tiny duckling sprinted in and made a move to cut between my feet. I quickly put my heels together and it attempted to take up residence in the wedge created by my shoes. Now, this was a tiny duckling, and its parents were nowhere to be found, so we decided to load everyone in the minivan and eat lunch while driving around looking for ducks. The duckling was safely ensconced in a shoebox (so we thought) while we looked.
Long story short: we couldn’t find any duck parents, but we did discover that the little guy could jump. We were actually in the drive-through at Taco Bell when he vaulted out of the shoebox and went racing around in the minivan. Between a shrill scream and my request that she “please hold on… there’s a duck loose in our car”, we believe the Taco Bell lady taking our order may have been a bit scared of us.
After fruitlessly looking for ducks, we headed home and fixed up a little habitat for the duckling. I then headed off for a farm feed store to buy food for the little guy while Abigail decided to make it more at home. This involved leaning a book with pictures of ducks up against the side of its container, drawing pictures for it and taping them to the sides, and just generally watching over it for about the next four straight hours.
All in all, the duckling did very well and even went for a nice swim Sunday afternoon in our bathtub. On Sunday at church, my dad had mentioned that he had seen some ducklings of about the right size on his last bikeride, so that evening (while it was still a bit light), he and I took the duck (this time in a box with much higher sides) and went looking for some new parents for it.
Suprisingly, after about 20 minutes of looking around in a park, we found the very ducklings that my dad had originally seen. We released the duckling, and he immediately raised off to be with other ducks (along with the ducklings, there were many adults in the area). The mother duck seemed confused and pecked him a couple times, but the duckling made a real effort to just blend in with her other ducklings and ate with them before following them toward the water.
All in all, I found the whole experience very interesting, and certainly far more pleasant than eating duck feet.