Meet the Canards …

April 29, 2009 § 18 Comments

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Meet Monsieur Canard, the winner, the triumphant , the fabulous Mr. C!  He has courted and won the goodly Darling Duck (pictured below) after several days of raucous living in the backyard bamboo. This little home haven is also adjacent to the neighbor’s pool which has been sitting open and full lo these past few months and oh, you can’t imagine the duck hijinx that has gone on back there!

Mmmmm, you say. And, so?

Well, I say, leaning in closer to confide,  Mr. C has done and won battle with two other handsome mallards who fell victim to the wiles of  Darling Duck.

Really? You raise your eyebrows  in disbelief. That little thing?

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Yes, for days and days  four ducks – 3 males and Darling – honked and clattered about in the bamboo, proving its forest-y strength and then went swooping into the neighbor pool, each  landing  perfectly like planes on a short decked air carrier.  Indeed, after flapping and slapping about in the water – you might have thought several young schoolers were back there, having a lark (so to speak) –  anyway, after their frolicking, they would swoop back into the trees, or squat and waddle through the tufty forest and up the bank and through the fence and behold!  into our pool area.

Coming home one evening, I caught the four of them inside our fence. She was in the puddle in the middle of our pool cover. The flashy Mr C (above) was about three feet away from her, silent. Staring. At what? At his competitors, of course.  There the three males stood in serious gang attitude, still, angry, wary. 

All four ducks completely ignored me.Finally the two competitive  marauders waddled off through the bushes.  Mr. C gave no sigh of relief, not he, no, indeed!  He puffed up his chest, planted his feet in a fairly straight position and gave me a  sly eye, which I, naive to all this duck clatter, took to indicate that he wanted his picture taken. So, I snapped nearly a dozen  photos, then turned my camera on Darling D. 

I suspect he would have asked me to tack his pictures to the trees in the neighborhood, putting the word out to the other dastardly two, announcing pictorially that theyshould back down in their affections for the innocent Darling Duck.

At this point, having had enough of cooling her maternal self in the pool cover puddle came whamping out of the water to follow him. All was apparently good. They went walking off, he first, through the bushes.

An hour later, I went out to light the patio table candles and ponder the pleasures the Spring weather promised. And suddenly there was a huge rumble coming out of the bushes – here was Darling Duck, walking with wings lifted, neck stretched, webbed feet rhythmic, pumping.  Right behind her, Mr. C  came flapping and just behind him, their necks stretched in hissing and hooting, the two challengers. 
Well!

Enough, I shouted. They ignored me.

They were all coming at me still though they didn’t really see me, I was sure. They were far too embroiled in their own race to win Darling’s curvaceous ways and suddenly Darling slammed on her little webbed brakes as did Mr C and they both went heavily airborne over my head, up over our roof and across the street. The other two followed in hot pursuit.

But all end’s well as far as we humans know.  Just this morning, I saw Darling Duck and Mr. Canard, utterly and completely smitten with one another, parading across our pool cover, assuring themselves our pool wasn’t open , then went ducking through the fence and back towards the neighbor’s “swimming hole.”

There has been no sign of the other two duckie boys for days. I can only imagine that Mr. C has not only charm (just ask Darling Duck) but also other compelling ways – enough to drive off those other two unruly duck boys.

So will it be time soon to “make way for ducklings?”  We are hoping they are born before our pool cover comes off and then visit only our neighbors.  

Not a bad story, you say, but really, nothing happened.
Mmmmmm, I say, nodding my head. Maybe. Maybe not. 

Book Selection…

MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS …by Robert McCloskey.
The book , published in 1942, won a Caldecott Medal for its illustrations and is popular to this day. Though criticized for no plot (as the above narrative!), nevertheless a statue of the mallard mother duck and her 8 ducklings was erected in the park in Boston where the story takes place.  It’s a classic.
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§ 18 Responses to Meet the Canards …

  • anno says:

    Oh, this is charming! And wonderful pictures to go along with it!

    MWFD is one of my favorite childhood books. No plot? Harumph! What do critics understand of love?

  • shoreacres says:

    I love ducks, and I love this entry. Eighteen years of life on the docks has tuned me in to the fact that duck life is pretty danged complex and demanding.

    The acquired talent I’m most proud of is the ability to sound like a mama duck calling her babies. I’ve reunited innumerable families – I just can’t stand the sound of that one duckling who’s wandered off and gotten lost. The duck whisperer….

    • oh says:

      You must have seen some serious duck life living on the water. And to become a duck whisperer…it’s poetic. It’s wonderful.

  • ds says:

    No plot! Hah! Plenty of action in the ducky world (have been witnessing same on walks around local pond; it is, if you will pardon the expression, a hoot. Or at least a cackle). MWFD has always been a great favorite. I love the expression on the policeman’s face!

    • oh says:

      Aren’t the illustrations perfect? done in charcoal. Which sounds very messy to me but I don’t know squat about drawing with charcoal. Or, with anything really. (loved the “hoot” and “cackle” in your comment!)

      • ds says:

        I don’t know squat about drawing anything, either. But I want to thank you for the lovely words you left on my blog. They mean a lot.

  • jeanie says:

    Oh, my — I’m laughing so hard I almost can’t stand it! Brilliant storytelling! How I would have loved to observe all this — you are, I think, privileged to have been allowed to observe. (Though as you said, they do seem so singleminded that they probably didn’t know you existed!) National Geographic couldn’t have told it better.

    I am waiting to hear if there’s a sequel with little ducklings involved! It sounds as though Mr. C and Ms. D like the neighborhood!

    • oh says:

      so glad you got a kick out of it. I will keep an eye out for the ducklings. You see, these are good reasons to be late for work, or to delay cooking dinner or, whatever, right? It’s good to spend time outdoors – truly, I am soooo glad Spring has arrived, I don’t even mind the coughing and sneezing from the pollen that’s covering everything right now!

  • Arti says:

    Lovely post! I’m trying to find the difference between the Canard and the Mallard, or are they the same? Here in my neck of the woods, we see them quite often. But usually in public parks or lakes, not in our backyards, for obvious reason. And what’s in our backyard? Rabbits are frequent, but a couple of times I saw deers, almost mythical moment in the morning haze.

    • oh says:

      Hi, Arti….You’re right. These are mallard ducks. I just gave them silly names, that’s all because canard means duck in french and then the female looked all sweet (and duck-toed!) that I decided to call her Darling Duck. Purely ridiculous. But they are a lovely little couple.
      I can imagine the delight in seeing deer in the morning haze as you describe it – they are so elegant, and statuesque – and always a surprise.

      • shoreacres says:

        No, no, no! Duckie Names are never ridiculous! I’ve known Ron and Don the Duckie Boys, Broken Wing, Fois Grass, Slipstream and CacklePlenty.

        What’s even worse, there are whole human communities who know the danged ducks by their names. We need to get on land more….

      • Arti says:

        Talking about names, you know, the loon is on the Canadian dollar coin. And we call it the loonie. Now that we have the two-dollar coin out, even though it has nothing to do with ducks, we call it the toonie.

  • laylou says:

    Glad Mr. C won out over the others; he’s got a lovely green to his neck there. And while the ducklings can be tough when our pool is open they are quite gorgeous regardless.

    I remember reading that book as a child =)

    • oh says:

      I’ll keep you current on the ducklings, if we get to see them. And btw, we don’t have that book on our shelf!!!! Will have to get it.

  • Becca says:

    What a charming tale 🙂 We have a pair of ducks who make their way to our neighborhood every year about this time. I know it’s not the same pair, but they must have genetically imprinted the location of their favorite nesting place!

  • oh how nicely observed, we were watching ducks today!

  • Lys says:

    i love this post! such a great story 🙂 i’m really glad mr. c beat out those other two rascals. hopefully you’ll have some cute little ducklings running around soon.

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