Ducklings Week 7: Quakie uses duck sign language

Duckies setting off on their next adventure.

Duckies setting off on their next adventure.

I got up late today, at almost 10 am. The ducks always seem to know when we wake – they can see us through the windows or perhaps hear us. One duck ran from the pond to the patio door and quacked really loudly, so I went out to see who it was, and was surprised that it was not Quakie, but one of the twins, Tipsy. The rest came up too, and all of them greeted me with peeps and quacks and when they felt satisfied that the group was complete, marched off under the fence to the neighbour’s garden.

All except for Quakie. She loitered around on the patio, then ran across the garden towards the pond flapping her wings, almost taking off. I was surprised at her unusual behaviour and imagined she was trying to show me how far she had progressed with her flying.

Ducks upending in the pond!

Ducks upending in the pond!

I followed her, and she walked over to their empty food tray, dipping her bill in it and swinging it from side to side. I think she was trying to show me that I was to fill it! She then walked over to the dog house, climbed in and pecked around the straw-lined interior.  I had dismantled and removed the outdoor pen a few days ago, since we never got around to using it for the ducks, but left the dog (duck) house there. The ducks do not sleep in it – they are anyway getting too big for such a confined space, but they will occasionally go inside to peck around in the straw if I was nearby. I guess a dog house actually feels very unsafe to a duck, since it has only one entrance and no alternative escape route should a predator come after them. Quakie seemed to like my company so I stayed with her as she explored various corners of the garden.

Tipsy poses in front of the sweet williams.

Tipsy poses in front of the sweet williams.

Soon after, the others came back from their little excursion. I suppose they feel grown up enough that they can each take care of themselves and didn’t need big sister Quakie to lead them.

They spent the rest of the day alternately sleeping in their favourite shady spots or training their growing wings – jumping into the pond from the top of the rock wall while flapping their wings, then racing each other back and forth across the water, diving and splashing like mad using both legs and wings to propel them.

You can imagine it’s hard for me to take my eyes off them, since they are always up to something. When I am outdoors in the garden, I never get to settle down with a book or magazine. They are either doing something amusing, or else wanting me to go with them on an excursion, or asking for treats etc. They are very keen to explore the areas beyond our yard on the other side of the house, but are blocked from leaving our compound by the garden gate and the garage.  They’d hang around near the garden gate, or the garage door (where Baby got injured two weeks ago) and give me significant looks, but I don’t let them out. I don’t want them to be on the street where they will be subject to the dangers of vehicle traffic, people and their dogs and cats. If they had to flee from a predator or some other danger, they would be in trouble as they are now too heavy to run fast.

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