Sunday, May 12, 2013

Obnoxious Ducks Find a Home

“Hurry up, Mildred,” quacked Frank the duck impatiently at his mate.

“Oh good Lord, Frank. Tell me we aren’t moving again,” Mildred quacked back.

“I’m afraid so, featherkins. Seems the leader of this duck pack just happens to be a Canadian goose who has a bubble up his butt about us snapping up all the food as the walkers pass by before he’s able to get to it. Seems I’m still the fastest pecker in the bunch,” said Frank with a smirk.

“I’ll vouch for that,” Mildred said slyly, as she smoothed her feathers and followed Frank down the walkway to their next destination—the fifth one this year.

“Where are we going now Frank?” asked Mildred. “We’ve worn out our welcome in just about every place here.”

“Don’t worry, Mildred. I’ve been scouting around, and I found a wonderful joint not a couple hundred feet from here. If we waddle fast enough, we’ll get there just in time to catch the seeds from the feeder the birds left behind this morning.”

It was our house they were eyeing like a pack full of crackers.  And by all accounts, we weren’t going to get rid of them easily.

“Frank,” said Mildred, “I’m not so sure about this place…they have cats.”

“Oh yeah, the cats,” he replied. “Don’t worry Mildred. They must be at least a hundred years old and they don’t seem to be interested in chasing ducks.”

Frank was referring to our cats who, on occasion, might go after a mole cricket or a lizard, but anything bigger than their paw and they were no longer interested. We fed them well and, well, that meant they weren’t gonna attack any ducks who might want a quick meal at the bird feeder.

Frank told Mildred, “Oh and you’ll love this, lovey…the male human actually feeds opossums from his glass siding door. I decided to do a night reconnaissance a couple of nights ago and saw him putting out some leftover cat food for the critters. He’s even given them nicknames.”

Mildred told Frank “That is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. We ducks never travel at night.”

Frank replied, “How do you think I find our next spots dear? I travel at night. I have to. If you haven’t noticed lately, we seem to be kicked out of every place we find. I think it is our personal hygiene.”

“Ahem,” replied Mildred. “Your hygiene you mean. You can’t eat three cracker crumbs without crapping all over the place. You have issues Frank, and they are ruining our lives.”

“Never mind Mildred,” said Frank. “I’ve found us the greatest place this time and I think we won’t ever have to move again.”

At first, for us, it was a novelty having our own pair of ducks showing up every day eating the birds’ leftovers and sunning themselves on our back porch, but the ducky doo doo began to pile up and before we knew it, we realized that ducks aren’t that cute…they’re more a nuisance and it was time to get rid of them.

The first time we clapped our hands and shooed them away, it took but a mere 5 minutes and they were back on our porch preening themselves under the bird feeder. My husband’s next course of action was to take some bread down the walkway a ways, dump it on the side and run like hell…thinking the ducks weren’t smart enough to realize that now they not only had a place to eat, but once in a while, we provided a lovely picnic in a totally different venue.

It was I, finally, who put a stop to the ducks dining on our patio. My solution was really more an act of desperation than anything else. I tried the picnic first, taking them further away from our home, but they had somehow managed to eat their meal of white bread crumbs and make it back to my house before I did. So, I did what I do to every critter who tries to take up residence in our yard. I got the hose.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Bright idea Einstein. Ducks sure are gonna hate water, ha ha. Well, come to find out, ducks love to swim in water, but they hate having it sprayed at them through a power nozzle. They were gone in a jiffy, quacking and clacking back and forth and I can imagine their conversation.

“Thanks a lot Frank,” said Mildred.

“What did I do this time? I was just scooping up the birdie seeds like you were,” quacked Frank indignantly.

“Oh yea? Well, maybe you didn’t notice that after Ms. Opossum lover turned the hose on us, she then turned it back on her porch to spray off the large mass of ducky doo doo you left in the corner.”

“Oh that,” he said. “Yes, I must admit, they have been feeding us rather well lately.”

They waddled away to their new destination, which Frank had found just that morning on his early reconnaissance mission.

“We going back to the flock?” asked Mildred.

“No honey. I’ve found an even better place. Her name is Ms. McNulty and she lives a few doors down from the couple who drove us out. Not only is she hard of hearing, she actually is so near-sighted that when I showed up at her door, she smiled, said “here kitty, kitty” and threw some dry cat food at me…the seafood flavor we love.”

“Oh Frank,” said Mildred as she waddled a few steps behind Frank, “You always take such good care of us,” and the two ducks waddled toward Ms. McNulty who was yelling “here kitty, kitty,” while stepping in a fresh puddle of Frank’s abundant calling card.

Meanwhile, I was patting myself on the back for coming up with such an unbelievable but workable scheme to get rid of the ducks. All day, while my husband was at work, the ducks stayed away. I had found the perfect solution.

That night, my husband came home.

“Looks like you didn’t get rid of the ducks,” he said as he looked out at the back porch that I hadn’t checked in some time.”

“What do you mean?” I said.  “Those ducks were gone all day. I did get rid of them.”

I went to get the hose and Frank yelled to Mildred to hit the deck.

“Honey, we’re gonna have to ride this one out just for a little while until Ms. McNulty’s son leaves. It was just their luck that they had found a woman whose son made a habit of visiting his mom every Mother’s Day to take care of her garden and make sure no varmints were lurking about.

This time the ducks hunkered down and I gave up. “Let them stay,” I said. “At least bird seed is a helluva lot cheaper than canned cat food you feed the opossum you call Dude.”

But that evening, just after dawn, the ducks were gone and the opossum named Grandpa was just stopping by to enjoy a savory meal of cubed chicken in gravy, a can of food that cost me $.65 at the store.

“That’s ok,” I rationalized. “Better Dude and Grandpa eat it than it gets thrown out in the garbage, as the cats are only partial to the dry seafood flavored food,” and, I thought to myself, “they don’t leave behind soggy doo doo, at least, I haven’t seen any yet.”

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