In early May of this year, a little mallard hen and her chicks spent several days in our backyard enjoying the security of our fence and the pleasure of our little pond.
A long story made short -- she and her 8 babies were chased by a dog. My 3-year-old and 5-year-old grandchildren helped me gather the surviving six ducklings and carry them into our yard. Mama Duck needed no more encouragement to follow us then her babies excited peeps.
She decided it was a good place to be.
Eventually, someone left a gate open, and the Mama Duck decided it was time for her family to head out. Immediately they encountered another neighborhood dog which paid no attention to them whatsoever. Unfortunately, Mama Duck squawked with alarm and they all scattered... leaving one duckling behind.
We made some calls and another neighbor had a friend with domestic ducks who agreed to take the baby. But it had to be kept in its own container and not with the other ducks. We were told that it was lonely.
A week later this same neighbor called excitedly to say that Mama Duck was back on our street! The neighbor had called the "foster parents" and was on her way from their farm with the duckling
Mama Duck and her babies were hiding under some shrubbery when the neighbor and I approached with the "lost" duckling. Once it was removed from the carrying box, the duckling began to cry with alarm. Mama Duck came rushing from the bushes responding with loud quacks to claim the frightened baby. The two raced back into the bushes.
The air was filled with neighbor's laughter when the family emerged and waddled single-file across the lawn. The "lost" duckling had grown. It was twice the size of the babies in this recently hatched brood.
The good news? Baby Huey was happy with its new family, and the new family didn't know the difference.
16 hours ago