Adult whistling tree ducks and their ducklings emerge from their shaded bush to splash in a sprinkler made puddle. This is a view from between the slats of our front fence into our backyard, on their first day of venturing around our yard.
Sometimes, in the dry of a hot summer, something comes along to inspire a person to pull up the shades and embrace the season for all it’s worth. I’ve never been a summer girl. I prefer the warmth of a roaring fire, the crisp of autumn air, the aroma of bee laden mountain laurels in spring. For me, a tired teacher with busy grown kids, summer generally means hiding from the sun in a darken house, cleaning out closets, watching movies, and reading. It’s good for my sensitive skin, but plays havoc on my sense of adventure, making me question, “What the heck am I doing with my summer?!” I’m resting from the busyness of teaching and staying cool….with a fluffed pillow and a good book. Yeah, boring.
But, yesterday, much to our surprise, two adult ducks and about 20 new born ducklings were waddling around our backyard! Shades went up, binoculars and cameras came out, bird books opened; we have visitors! Hello there!
Two Whistling Tree ducks, birds that we usually see in spring for about a weekend…sitting in trees and on roof tops…had nested under one of our bushes and have now created a little home in our sleepy suburban backyard. We are charmed, as well as concerned. We have a big dog who calls the yard his, and a few regular hobo cats that hang around our neighborhood that might find the ducks more tasteful than beautiful. So, we’ve been walking the dog in front and patrolling the fence for any intruders that might disrupt this little family of ducks. We watch…and contemplate each step.
In an effort to keep the ducks cool and fed, we’ve created a small pond, run the sprinkler, and have put out two small feeders of starter duck food. They seem to have settled in, basking in the sun, spashing in the shallow water, and taking regular outings around the yard…the two adults hovering in alert as the row of striped ducklings trail behind. From what we have read, it could be as much as 50 days before the ducklings can fly. And so we continue to watch and nurture with as little intrusion as possible.
It will be interesting to see, here in the beginning of this slow-moving hot Texas summer, just how nature will direct this little blessing. Their appearance has certainly added a little color and excitement to mine. I have been glued to windows in my night gown, hidden behind the fence like a peeping tom, creeping along the patio… snapping pictures of these little fuzzy babies and their guard-dog moms. Just when I thought life was losing it’s zest again, as I often do in the deadness of summer, the blinding sun seems soften and the sound of spashing ducklings, bobbing up and down in the pond, has revived my spirits.
We’ll watch, together if you like, and see what nature has in store. It seems summer is full of surprises and inspiration! I’ll read those books later~