Buda: Banished duck king

June 2nd, 2016     1 comment     permalink

Buda roosts alone at the north end of the pond

Buda has been dethroned as an alpha-duck on the Brighton millpond. Pollux who took top honors and now it appears to be the Dixie/Darth tag team. They are chasing the new arrivals (George & Martha) out of the pond daily.

Buda has also separated from his long-time buddy Dexter who is wooing one of the pond’s ravishing hens. So Buda sits alone at the north end of the pond, but he still seeks female companionship. He swims down to where Franny once nested and looks for Calamity and Shine to no avail. Those domestic hens are currently missing. They may be on distant nests so I don’t consider them lost to the ages yet.

Buda's posture isn't looking too chipper lately

You can see Buda isn't preening his feathers wellBuda looks bedraggled these days. I took these shots on a rainy day. That may be why his feathers are soiled. Note how he isn’t preening himself well. Maybe he’s not feeling chipper or a touch of arthritis makes it painful to reach his tail feathers (left). Those aren’t plunked feathers around him (above). They are withered flowers from an Autumn Olive tree above him. He’s one of the oldest domestic ducks on the pond and has survived far beyond expectations. He’s been at the pond longer than I have, 7+ years.

Get. Off. Our. Lawn (Pond).

May 4th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Duck dumpers naively believe their abandoned pets will have a happy time making new friends at the Brighton millpond. It’s rarely an easy transition.

Darth and his brother, Dixie, decide twilight is a good time to drive the newcomers out of the pond

George and Martha arrived in mid-April and still haven’t been inducted into the millpond community by some of the other waterfowl. Above, Darth (center) and Dixie (right) decide twilight is a good time to drive the newcomers out of the pond.

Darth, a Rouen drake, attacks George with a vengence

Darth started the drubbing (above) by letting George know he was in charge. Martha watched as Darth attacked so she learned the lesson, too.

Dixie soon takes over the drubbing as Martha heads toward the safety of shore

Martha waddles onto the Main Street lawn as the boys approach the pond's edgeWhen Darth had expended his adrenalin rush, Dixie took over (above) while Martha headed for shore ahead of the fracas.

Dixie holds George's head under waterDixie held George’s head under water long enough to convince him he ought to respect Dixie and Darth as his superiors in the pecking order. This sort of thrashing will take place many times before the lesson is learned.

The tables can turn quickly, however. If George realizes he is as strong as (or at least equal to) the attacking pair, he may become more dominant or merely earn the respect of his rivals so they leave the pair alone. The pecking order is always in flux, and the arrival of newly abandoned pets or wild birds can change the dynamics overnight.

Meet George and Martha

April 16th, 2016     3 comments     permalink

Martha is larger which might indicate she is a he

Oh joy. The first ducks of the dumping season have arrived earlier than usual. Easter ducks don’t usually begin to arrive until two months after the holiday. But these two are fully grown so they may have be discarded Valentine’s Day presents.  I first noticed this pair three days ago. I thought they were two of our existing six Pekins even though they didn’t rush up to me like the resident Pekins do. I attributed that to park visitors filling their gullets before my arrival.

George is smaller with curly tail feathersLast night, I saw the pair from across the pond after I had already seen five of the six existing Pekins farther north. I knew we had at least one extra Pekin in residence. I caught up with them later near Main Street to take these photos. They were skittish and wouldn’t come too close nor did they interact well with the other ducks.

I’ve tentatively named them George and Martha although they may be two founding fathers instead of our first president and first lady. The smaller one has curly tail feathers so it’s definitely a male. The other is larger which normally means it’s a drake but it’s missing curly tail feathers. If its behavior indicates it’s a drake, Martha will become Martin and asked (but not forced of course) to use the other bathrooms.

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