I like ducks.
Why ducks? They're beautiful birds, and they're also large enough to see. As spectacular as many songbirds are, they're small. Even the bright red cardinal, unless he's perched on your feeder, is hard to identify.
Not that I have a pet duck. Much as I love ducks, they, like all birds, splat all over everything. Let them stay in the pond and keep their tails, and my yard, clean.
But I go to the waterways to visit them. I can usually find the most common duck in the northern hemisphere, the mallard (right). Because they're so abundant, we tend to take them for granted, but these largest of the wild ducks are striking birds.
Eastern North America, where I live, is home to one of the most spectacular ducks in the world, the North American Wood Duck(left). Wood Ducks do not often appear in the open like mallards do, but I can usually find them in wood-shaded ponds, which they prefer.
The two gorgeous specimens in the above photos are males, or drakes. In most species of duck, the drake is the more colorful of the pair. And in the species where the male is colorful, there are usually more drakes than hens. So, the drab hens can pick and choose among these avian hunks. Lucky duckies.
I don't just watch ducks, I collect them, too. Not real ones, but everything else. I went duck happy, with my husband aiding and abetting me.
I have porcelain ducks of all sizes, wooden ducks of all sizes, pewter ducks, a duck mirror, duck clothes hooks, duck clothes hangers, lots of duck stuffed toys, duck plates, duck towels, duck bath mats, a duck show curtain, two stuffed ducks (a mallard and a wood duck) that my husband found somewhere, duck prints, duck paintings, duck cups, duck decorative plates, but not ones you can eat off, a Duck Crossing sign, duck soap, duck candles, a duck blanket, a duck bedspread, duck return address labels, duck books, duck postcards and duck postage stamps.
I also buy a US Federal Duck Stamp every year (left).
A century ago, the North American Wood Duck was hunted almost to extinction for its feathers, which were used to adorn women's hats. Thanks to government protection and habitat preservation, the Wood Duck has made a spectacular comeback. Great Meadows, the National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts, not too far from where I live, was instrumental in saving the wood ducks by providing a safe breeding area (right).
The Duck Stamps fund the National Wildlife Refuges. 98% of the money from the sale of duck stamps goes directly to protect wetlands, like Great Meadows.
My duck stamp purchase helps to insure that my friends, the ducks, will always grace the waterways of America.
Romances end with a Happily Ever After. Ducks should have a Happily Ever After, too.
Thank you, all