“Quack!! Quack Quack!!”
I looked up from my book, annoyed by the wildlife in the park. Didn’t they know this is the only peaceful hour of my day? How dare they intrude into it with their daily existence?
I turned this way and that searching for the source of the incessant quacking. Nothing.
What the… suddenly I glimpsed movement in the rear view mirror. I turned around to see 4 ducks – one female (I think) and 3 males (again, I think) storming from the brush behind my car, making their way across the parking lot… directly towards my car.
I was trapped and they seemed angry.
I sat solidly still while the quacking came closer and closer and increasingly more agitated. What had I done to illicit this ire? Sure, I don’t bring snacks for them, but this is my lunch hour after all. As they waddled closer, the grip on my book became tighter. I gazed out of the driver side window to see where they had gotten to. I could still hear their grumblings, but couldn’t see their little bodies.
Just then one emerged beside the car.
I whipped back from the window with a squeal. Perhaps they hadn’t seen me? Surely they had heard my cry though. I was doomed. They would come and peck my eyes out sure as the day is long. My irrational fears got the better of me as I checked to make sure all the windows were up.
Their entrance into the car seemed to be taking awhile, so I tentatively peered back outside. All four were rapidly waddling past the car now – without a lull in their quacking or even two quacks given to this idiot in her car. One lone male lurked behind the vehicle – watching the others progress. Perhaps he was their “closer?”
I watched as the crew continued their dance up and over the parking curbs and into the grass. The female seemed to really be hustling to stay ahead of the others, head tucked down for the best wind resistance. I thought I saw one of the males try to block the other from getting to her.
Ah… this was a mating dance. Nothing to do with me at all! Phew!
I continued my gawking, cheering for the female to get away from her predators. Sad that all I could think of was how out numbered she was and not happy for her to have so many “suitors.” They stopped mid playground for a rest. Then she literally shook her tail feathers at them.
She was playing hard to get! Could it be that she actually enjoyed the chase?! My mind was blown and all I could think of was “Where is Phil Robertson when you need him? Certainly he could give me an education on what exactly was going on here.” (Yes, I was looking for an education on ducks from a TV personality. SO?)
Eventually I went back to my book. It was a little voyeuristic of me to be watching anyway. (Although I did see two little birds settle down on a nearby park bench to take in the spectacle as well – apparently this was high brow entertainment in this park.) But that’s what they get for doing this sort of thing out in the middle of the park.
When I turned back once more they had all settled down into the grass for a much needed rest. She tried shaking her bits a little more, but the men weren’t having it.
“Calm down Bertha! I need a rest! Sheesh. She never quits,” I could imagine one of the males snarking as he snuggled his beak into his chest for a snooze.
Now I was making them talk. Come to think of it… there is probably a reason I am not left alone too often in my day…
Blog PS: I read later that shaking of the tail feathers could be a sign of fear so she may have been being chased after all. Mating is typically in the Spring, but courting is in the Fall… so I’m not entirely sure what was going on. Anyone with a direct line to Phil?