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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ducks



Some of us have blogged about our pets. So, today I'm blogging on 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. Better that they 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. 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. 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 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.

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 protection, 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.

http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatmeadows/

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.
http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/

My duck stamp purchase helps to insure that my friends, the ducks, will always grace the waterways of America.

Ducks should have a Happily Ever After, too.

Thank you, all
Linda

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--A legend spanning time, and the man and woman caught in it--Regency time travel, available from The Wild Rose Press

Pumpkinnapper--Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled, and a jealous goose. Oh my--coming September 30, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press
www.lindabanche.com

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12 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Yes, Ducks deserve their Happily Ever After, too.

I once saw the most beautiful mallard Drake. He was so gorgeous and I was so close, I just stayed and watched him for a long time.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Lovely post, Linda! I love ducks, too. Glorious photos, as well.

Do you ever have ducks wandering into your novels?

Savanna - the mallards are lovely, aren't they? What a special moment.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Savanna. Mallards are beautiful birds, and I enjoy watching them, too.

Thanks, Lindsay. Sure, I have lots of ducks in my books. My WIP trilogy, "The Feather Fables", has ducks and geese, as well as other birds, and "Pumpkinnapper" has a goose (not quite the same, but it works for the story)

Emma Lai said...

Ducks are beautiful birds. I'm on a duck kick for my upcoming baby...well that and frogs and turtles and dragonflies. Nature theme.

Bekki Lynn said...

Wonderful post, Linda.

You'd love it here. Ducks and Canadian Geese are in abundance almost year round.

We've had them make nests in planters downtown, in peoples flower beds, and out of the way corners near buildings -- no one moves them, they put up guards to protect the eggs.

One of the many factors that makes this community dear.

Margaret Tanner said...

What a lovely post, and the pictures were beautiful.
Regards
Margaret

Linda Banche said...

Hi Emma, nice to know I'm not the only duck nut out there. Your baby will be lucky to be surrounded by nature.

Thanks, Bekki. I love to hear the people in your town let the ducks and geese nest where they will. Too often people chase these beautiful birds away.

Margaret, thanks. I can never find enough pretty duck pictures.

Ashley Ladd said...

Now that I live in South Florida, ducks wander all over our neighborhood all the time. Growing up in Ohio, I only saw ducks when we went to the lakes.

Linda Banche said...

Ashley, you're lucky to have ducks all over the place. I would love that

LK Hunsaker said...

Linda, I love watching and photographing ducks. We're close to a lake and the other day we were treated to Mallards waddling their flock of babies down off the shore into the lake. Wouldn't you know it, though? My battery died and I missed getting a picture of it.

I used to live near Concord. Gorgeous area. I love MA.

Linda Banche said...

Loraine, too bad about the picture. But, If you can't take a picture, at least you get to see the ducklings every day.

Nicola Cornick said...

What an interesting post, Linda. I love your photographs too. They're wonderful! Living in the UK we have a different selection of ducks to look at and it's lovely to see some ones I'm not familiar with. I was also fascinated to read about the Wood Duck being hunted to near extinction simply so that it's feathers could be used as decoration. How often we hear of that happening to birds and animals. It's why there are no beavers in the UK except in wildlife parks. They were hunted to extinction for those hats the gentlemen used to favor in the Regency period!