Friday, August 6, 2010

Do duck in!

The local wood duck population are starting to breed and are looking for safe neighbourhoods to make a home, build a nest, and bring up the children. According to ornithologist books, a nice place to raise the kids includes "nearby open pasture". We have that. Also "lightly timbered areas near water, inland creeks or dams." Yes, yes and yes. We have a little duckpond that is - incredibly - even holding water. Bit hard for it not too since almost all the paddocks drain into a hole just barely the size of our bathroom. Still we hope ducks will like it for theirs. We even put a decoy on it to declare it "safe" to any overhead passers-by in the market for real estate.

A nice young couple came looking. They checked out the room, the layout and the adjacent trees. They tested the flooring - suitable for grazing. Lots of slugs under that capeweed. These are Australian Wood Ducks. They're also sometimes called Maned Ducks because " the male has a short, dark mane." and because Wood Duck wasn't obviously descriptive enough for a native bird name. They came from a good family, Chenonetta jubata, were a lovely quiet pair and we hoped they'd stay.

The male was a bit concerned at the traffic in the nearby raceway and the noise the sheepy neighbours made when the traffic was a wheelbarrow with hay, but the female was very impressed with the kitchen and they stayed all afternoon.

With any luck they'll move in and our duckpond will have tenants. The decoy doesn't seem to mind.