I woke up this morning to loud peeping and went outside to see this:
Meet mama duck. See all those fuzzy butts crowded under mama duck's wings? Those belong to eleven fuzzy ducklings. Yes, eleven. The time had come to herd baby ducklings.
Some backstory: when we moved into our apartment, which is two floors above a restaurant with a second-floor deck that opens on to the alley, both the landlord and the previous tenant told us that every year a duck made a nest on the deck and would require our assistance getting the ducklings to the river. Of course, the river is not only seven blocks away, but down a flight of stairs and across several streets. (Nobody ever said ducks were really smart). I found a nest with six eggs in it on Easter morning and had been watching and waiting ever since.
The first trick was to get the babies down the flight of stairs without any of them getting hurt.
This is me trying to placate mama duck with a bit of homegrown lettuce while I take her babies away. As you can imagine, she's not too pleased. But as you can see the ducklings are in a corner and I was able to gather them all into a box. I wore leather gloves in case of biting, but instead she flew at my head. Thankfully that didn't really hurt.
The hardest part was getting them across the street and reunited with their mama. There was a bit of confusion but thankfully she heard their peeping and waddled across the street and onto the sidewalk, where I let them out of their box and they were all reunited. From then on, it was merely a question of keeping them out of the busiest streets and stopping the little traffic there was as they all walked down to the river.
The little ones just followed along, their funny feet flap-flap-flapping on the bricks and asphalt.
Some interested parties observed from nearby windows. (Other parties also took photos in the street!)
And after a few more blocks and a carefully controlled encounter with a dog (whose owner was nice enough to keep him well away) they all went plop-plop-plop into the Potomac. Just like ducks to water.
Amazing. And adorable. I'm glad we were able to take on the duty of chaperoning ducklings, and getting to see them up close, if only for a minute, is so nice. This absolutely made my day, possibly my week.
(And now I won't have ducks in my containers, so I can do some gardening!) I can't say how happy I am for Spring and positive changes all around. We'll be back to regularly scheduled blogging soon.