July 26th, 2003

Auros Face from wedding


So, you probably don't want to read this next part unless you have a strong stomach. I'm going to not only cut-tag it, but also put it in white text on the white background, so you'll have to select it (click-drag across it) to make it viewable.

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In slightly more cheerful, but also surreal, news... I spent half an hour herding ducks this afternoon. No, really!

nytemuse called me on her way to work to tell me that there was a mother mallard with seven ducklings wandering around in the parking lot. I'd seen her and her mate around the koi pond a few months earlier; it struck me at the time that she was just asking for trouble, what with the dozen cats that roam around the complex, and I thought about trying to chase them off, so they'd maybe fly over to the marshlands east of Rt 101...

But I didn't bother, and apparently they did nest here and produce a clutch. And then the mother had wandered off, ducklings in tow, and ended up down in the back end of the complex's parking lot.

We have a U-shaped lot -- two entrances from the main road, and it goes all the way around the complex -- and there's really no way out except at the road, because it has a high fence. The parking lot is lower than the rest of the complex, because there are parking spaces underneath the apartments. Presumably the silly ducks had wandered down one of the stairwells, then forgot where they'd come from.

So, I threw some bread in a bag, and went down to attempt to lure the ducks back up to the pond. Nothing doing. They were terribly dehydrated and distressed -- no water in the lot, plus it's hot asphalt with little shade at that time of day. They consistently wanted to run away from me though, so I used that to herd them down into one of the little "inlet" lots with a stairwell, and then the mother decided to fly up to the top of the stairwell without the ducklings, and I scooped them in one great mass into the bag, followed her up, and dumped them in the bushes behind her. I left them fairly close to the swimming pool and the koi pond, crumbled up the bread (since it had duckling cooties all over it anyways), and left them alone to calm down.

They did apparently reassemble their little group, because I saw them again later, in a different set of bushes... much further away from the pond (where they'd be relatively safe), and right next to the stairwell they'd been at the bottom of when I first found them. *facepalm*

I'm expecting those ducklings are all going to get eaten by cats, run over by cars, etc.

I suppose I shouldn't expect much intelligence out of a duck. *sigh*
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