Sunday, August 1, 2010


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


Maeve said...

What lovely photos. I'm lucky enough to live near a lake and we've had ducks visit our little pond in the front yard. I really enjoyed your post. :-)

Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter said...

I'm a bird nut also, and near my house in Ohio, I can see all kinds of birds, mallards and wood ducks, Canadian geese, an occasional white swan, blue herons (one of which ate almost all the fish in my pond 2 years ago-grrrr), kingfishers, and on and on. Several years ago, I spotted a family of wood ducks in a swampy area near my house. They moved the next year to another nearby swampy area (the Blackfork river flood plain). You need a quick eye to spot them floating on the water in the trees because they don't hang as close to the road anymore, but I plan to get a picture of them come rain or high water, some day! I can't tell you how many bird species I've identified around my country neighborhood but the most touching are the sweet little bluebirds that started appearing about 10 years ago. My heart broke when my son found 4 of them in his fireplace chimney this month, dead. My grandmother was a bird nut and got me started on this happy hobby back in the 1960s. Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter

Victoria Roder said...

Hi Linda,
I enjoyed your post about Ducks, they are fun to watch.

Sherry Gloag said...

Great blog and beautiful pics. I love ducks too, and where I used to live the village kids brought ophaned ducking to me to rear.
As for geese, I live under their flight path and every year they monopolise a field not far from us and I watch them come into land and take off. Heathrow and JFK have nothing on their organisation!
I also live near a wid bird resevation,
where, for the past three years, the BBC have presented the annual Springwatch programmes.
I try to never miss those programmes.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Linda,
I enjoyed hearing about your ducks. The grands and I love bird watching, especially ducks. Such graceful flyers and swimmers, but they look a bit awkward waddling on land. LOL

Linda Banche said...

Oh, I love bird stories. Thanks, everyone.

Thanks, Maeve. You're lucky to have a pond right in front of your house. I have to travel to see the ducks.

Sandy, always nice to meet another bird nut. I knew I wasn't the only one. I'm jealous, your having those wood ducks so close to you. Their beautiful coloring does make them hard to see--great camouflage. Send me the picture when you get one. I can never have enough duck pictures.

I'm sorry about the bluebirds. They're gorgeous, and I see them only a few times here. But they'll come back. Put some mesh over your chimney top so they don't go back there.

Thanks, Victoria. I have a great time watching the ducks, too.

Hi Sherry, lucky you, taking care of ducklings and having the geese in your field. I love watching them take off and land, too.

And thanks for the links to Pensthorpe. I love the picture of the black-and-white swan with her babies. I've never seen that kind of swan. The mallard duckling sitting down is adorable! Springwatch must be great, especially now that they have hi-def television.

Thanks, Rebecca. I've noticed that ducks and geese are pigeon-toed. Maybe that's what makes them awkward on land. But then, they were built for swimming, not walking!

catslady said...

I don't really live near water but someone must have a small pond nearby. I have a hill and some woods behind my house but new homes all around. I also care for feral cats. To my great surprise and horror one day I saw a mama duck and 6 little chicks walking through my hill. I watched them make it 3 more houses up before I lost sight and was so thankful that none of my cats were around at the time.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
Lovely and informative blog. I have never really thought about ducks before.



Linda Banche said...

Hi catslady, I'm glad the ducks made it. I worry about them. Too often I've seen ducks and geese that have been hit by cars.

Thanks, Margaret. Ducks are all around, and sometimes we take what's close by for granted.

Kaye Manro said...

I love your ducks, Linda! What wonderful photos too.

Sorry I've been MIA this summer. I'm trying to get back to posting and blogging now.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Kaye. And nice to have you back.