Thursday, May 9, 2013

Leia-ing eggs

by Julie

For the past few years in the spring, three mallards show up in our backyard to spend time swimming in our winter-covered, but pond-like pool. My daughters have named the two males and one female Luke, Han, and Leia.

A few weeks ago, Leia went missing. We don't live in a rural area, it's suburban, but we do spot coyotes fairly often and there are always hawks circling. We thought poor Leia had disappeared for good.

Monday, we opened our pool for the season, a little earlier than usual. Generally, this is when Luke, Han, and Leia take off and we don't see them for another year. But this time, Luke and Han are still hanging around.

Now, I don't really mind them swimming in my pool when the cover is on it and water gathers there, but once the pool is open, all bets are off. My husband and I have been clapping our hands and shooing them away before they leave their messy calling cards, if you know what I mean.

I've been playing "Chase the ducks" for the past few days and it's wearing on me. Well, it was. Until this afternoon, when I looked out the back window to see that Leia had returned. It's possible she never left, but had been in hiding in the backyard (entirely possible) because she waddled across the grass accompanied by eight little adorable ducklings.

They're much too small to make it up onto the deck (it's an above-ground pool) at this point, but how on earth will I have the heart to chase those sweet little things away once they get big enough? Fingers crossed that by that time, they'll decide to find different digs.

Any suggestions?

16 comments:

Jamie L. said...

I was a caretaker of ducks for years bc they showed up on my doorstep. I called them my "kids." They meant the world to me. Yours have trusted you enough to stay, and better yet, bring their babies near you. However, they dont understand why you are shooing them away now that youve opened your pool but you werent before. They cant process that. The pool looks the same to them. Be patient with them. If you dont want them there, call a kind expert who can relocate them properly and safely.

Aurian said...

Lol just cover up your pool again until they are gone. Is the weather really good enough where you live to swim outside already?
And little ducks grow very fast, that cuteness will fade :) Unless of course you start feeding them as well ...

Julie Hyzy said...

Just to be clear - I *never* chase Leia or the little ones. They can go wherever they like. It was one of the male mallards who - for the first time this year - chose to swim in the opened pool. They've never done that before. Yesterday I added a few floating toys and it seems as though the pool looks different to them now. Haven't seen the boys up there at all.

Julie Hyzy said...

Even though it really isn't warm enough to swim yet, we're getting the pool in shape because one of our daughters is planning to have friends stay here for a week and this gives them options. Because we're in the Chicago area, we invested in a heater a few years back. Thank goodness. You'd never get me in it otherwise LOL

Jeannie D. said...

Aww! Little ducks are so cute. Of course, I love animals in general. I have baby squirrels in my back yard right now. They are adorable! I have been leaving them sunflower seeds and peanuts. There mommy actually grew up in my back yard and had them in the same oak tree she was born in.

Anonymous said...

We have an inground pool and sometimes Mama Duck leads her babies to certain death because they can get in, but they can't get out. It's heartbreaking, because they are almost impossible to rescue. After a few hours they tire and drown. We're talking 6-7 hours ... you can't stay out there all day and try to rescue them with Mama on the sidelines telling her kids to "swim away as fast as you can!" whenever we approach the pool. We discourage them from swimming on the top of the pool cover and spend hours keeping it drained until open day. We won't be opening our pool for at least another month, but will have to be on the lookout for Mr. and Mrs. Duck until we do.

Barbara said...

Maybe you could put a little child's pool in the yard until they are big enough to depart for bigger waters?

Julie Hyzy said...

We have very few squirrels at this point, but they're starting to move in. I really do enjoy all the wildlife.

Julie Hyzy said...

Oh, that is heartbreaking. I'm happy the little ones aren't able to get into the pool at this point, and probably won't be until they're big enough to get back out. I think the pool toys, and the vacuuming droid are keeping things sanitary today. Fingers crossed.

Julie Hyzy said...

I hadn't thought of that idea, Barbara. At this stage, though, the little ones -- even if they could get in -- wouldn't be able to get back out. They wouldn't drown, but they would be (pardon the pun) sitting ducks for predators. And we have plenty of those! Cool thought, though!

Sue said...

My daughter, in her younger days, brought duck eggs home from the park on day and put them in her sock drawer. She didn't tell me they were there. One day I went to put something in her room and I heard this little peep from her dresser. I searched all around that dresser looking for whatever was making the noise. I finally looked in the drawer and there were 3 baby ducks!!!! We fed them for a while and when they were old enough, we took them back to the park.

Julie Hyzy said...

Oh my gosh, Sue, that's hilarious. What a fun memory. Weren't you surprised to find more than socks in that drawer! Gotta love kids.

SueAnn said...

I was thinking you could use the top part of a bird bath.....set it on the ground away from the pool..with water..and bread cubes around it to entice them over that way......

Julie Hyzy said...

That's a great idea! We may have to try that!

Fred said...

Duncan would be glad to guard the pool and he works cheap.

SueAnn said...

We had Baltimore Orioles last year that constantly went after the strings we had used to tie our fruit trees straight, to stakes...they worked so hard shredding them..and we'd have to replace them..so...we placed loose yarns, all over the tops of the trees they favored..and they took those for their nests..inside of pecking on the tree trunks....We saw a pair this weekend and hubby said..where is that loose yarn?!LOL! I bet my orioles have the most colorful nests around! With wild life..see what they are after...give them what they want...a little bit away from humans..and they are happy....they don't know us from Adam! But we can help them out a bit....