Unlike most if not all of these blog posts, the photo featured here wasn’t from some website. This was actually taken by the Trophy Wife, as her attempts at wildlife photography were far more successful than mine. It might have something to do with her being closer to the ground. Anyway…these are just a few of the ducks that live in our community. You’ll have to forgive us a bit…neither of us is an ornithologist. Neither of us could spell ornithologist without help. The point is that we don’t know what type of ducks these are…other than the obvious fact that they are different. Trust me…it’s relevant.
The white one has always been special to us. We call it “Yetta”. We don’t know if it’s male or female, and we’re not trying to make the name “Yetta” gender-inclusive…this ain’t no “Pat”, “Chris” or “Marion” (you gonna make fun of John Wayne’s real first name?). No…this duck was named “Yetta” because it was part of a pair…a couple, if you please. We referred to these two as “Yetta and Al”, named after my wife’s aunt and uncle. I don’t actually know why. I remember nothing duck-specific about those two. Okay…maybe they did waddle a little when they walked.
Like many of the ducks in this community, they kept to themselves, but were always seen together. One of the great love stories of the 21st century. And then, one day…there was only one white duck. Did the other one run off for cigarettes and never return? We’ll never know. All we know is that this one duck was now alone.
Do ducks mourn? How the hell do I know? We watched it swim by itself…and it made us sad. We had gotten surprisingly attached to Yetta (how do we know we still have Yetta, and not Al? We don’t. We just decided that “Yetta” was a better name for a duck), and it just seemed like such a sad and lonely existence.
Within a short time, we noticed that Yetta was spending more time swimming near (note: that’s “near”, and not “with”) two brown ducks…almost in an effort to start a conversation. In time, the other two started swimming with Yetta, which we thought was one of the coolest, most inclusive things we could ever see. They had become friends…birds of a feather, so to speak (yes…I went there).
Then, as does happen…especially with the birds around here…there were suddenly three tiny brown ducks. Yetta stepped right in as a family member, and has been actively involved in the upbringing of these ducklings. We have seen “her” (sorry…I can’t bring myself to refer to Yetta as a female without air-quotes) left alone with the babies while the parents are off doing whatever it is that duck parents do.
Does it take a village to raise ducks? I don’t know. I suspect that our time as duck voyeurs is wrapping up soon enough, but we’ve enjoyed watching them all…but especially this “blended family”.
It all makes me wonder: why were these ducks…so obviously different…so adaptable to accepting an outsider and getting along? As humans (I’m giving most of you the benefit of the doubt), we’re often so resistant to mingling with others who aren’t like us. They look different, they come from backgrounds unlike our own, they quack differently. Why would we want to associate with people so different from ourselves?
Because we can. Because we should. We’re no better than those other people. It’s entirely possible we might just like them…maybe even learn something.
And that is all it’s quacked up to be.