Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dastardly Ducky Dilemmas

A Story of Cheeps and Quackers

Here at Jojoba Hills (the Escapee Co-op park in Aguanga, CA), wildlife abounds, much of it attracted by several ponds that interconnect through the park and provide a home for frogs, fish, and birds. Ducks, in particular, enjoy the park's aquatic areas so much that "Irritape" (shiny, flashy, strips of metallic tape) had to be installed over the swimming pool to keep them from calling it home (ever try to do a lap around a duck?).

In addition to the ponds there is also a lovely waterfall, built by retirees and charmingly named "Viagra Falls." This is what it looked like a bit ago:

As John and I were walking today, we saw a Momma and Daddy Duck lead several duckings across the road towards the falls, where they were, apparently, used to spending some quality time basking in the sun and splashing in the cascading water. But today the falls were temporarily turned off, probably for cleaning. Not a big deal for us, but it turned out to be a serious problem for this family of ducks.

When we got to the foot of the falls, Daddy Duck was guarding the base of the falls and Momma and the ducklings were swimming in a very small pool of remaining water at the base of the now-dry falls. As they usually did, they had jumped in with no problem, but the water level was so low that getting out was another matter.

The ducklings were too young to fly, and there was no way they could step up far enough to get out. Momma Duck kept trying to step out herself, to show the ducklings how to do it, but the sides were too high even for her. Desperate as she was, she would not fly off and leave her babies.

We contemplated trying to lift the babies out, but as I know, waterfowl can be vicious. So we got some help from the office (update: Dwayne and John). While one guy got Momma out with a broom and then held her at bay while she frantically quacked, the other lifted each duckling out of the water (not so easy to do -- with Momma gone, they all hid under overhanging rocks) and set them one-by-one safely on the rocks.

Thanks to everyone, soon Momma and the kids were all safely out of the water and reunited. As she waddled away up the hill, I thought I heard her say, "Let's get the flock outta here!"

I quack me up.


Neil & Pat; UNDO One said...

Grrreeeaaattt job Zoe it was like we were still there!
Neil & Pat

Anonymous said...

Fabulous job Zoe!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed that narative- good job by everyone who helped save the day!

Dick and Carole Schneider said...

Great post!! Will be subscribing to your blog. You and John are a great addition to Jojoba Hills...we are so glad you are here...

Chip said...

I think this blog is GREAT!!! I love the way you write. Hope you guys have a great time in Alaska & I look forward to your blog from there!! Chip

Anonymous said...

stop it stop it --- you're killing me! Great story Zo -- Grace