Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And Then There Were None

On July 6th, I took this picture of Mama Duck with her seven ducklings following her every where like a tail. She would waddle to our flat feeder with her brood and nibble on millet, then do an about face with her babies obediently falling in a close line behind her.

A day later, there were only six, which was no surpise. We see this every year - the number of offspring drops progressively over the weeks as the babies succumb to predators or other natural causes.

But three days after seeing six ducklings, there were none. I watched for days, but Mama duck continued to be alone. They weren't old enough to have flown away, they were still less than three weeks old and it normally takes 50 - 60 days before they are independent.

Two days ago, I sat at the edge of the pond, sharing my grief with the lone female duck. She looked at me for a while across the divide of water.

I haven't seen her since that day. I guess she has moved on. Why can't I?

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