Friday, June 17, 2011

Where'd You Get Those Peepers?

On Wednesday morning, I made it most of the way around the pond without seeing anything particularly interesting. Just before I turned past the final spot where the path follows closely to the water, I saw some women and very young children watching the ducks. They had a cute little dog with them and I wandered over to pet him when I noticed what looked like two oversized bumblebees skittering around on the pavement by the shore - and they were peeping their fuzzy little heads off.

Peep, Peep, Peep, PEEP!

The group had been watching them for a while. There were only a few mallards in the water and only one of those was female. Was she the mother? The ducklings looked healthy but were clearly beginning to sort of imprint on we humans - looking for and following our movement.

The other folks soon moved on (their little girl was frightened every time one of these miniature fluff balls approached her) and I was left wondering what to do with them.

I kept trying to put them back into the water, in hopes that they'd swim out a distance and that the female would come for them.
Every time I placed them in the water, they'd just turn right around and hop out, and waddle up to me. And peep.

Peep, Peep, Peep, PEEP!

The adult female appeared to be totally disinterested in the little ones and soon departed along with the drakes.

I placed them in a shady, protected spot and rushed home (less than a minute away) to phone Nicky. She's the Animal Whisperer of our neighbourhood - the one who helped rescue the orphaned raccoons from under my deck, and the geese which were dying from an oil spill in this same pond a year ago, spring.

She said she'd meet me at the pond. I returned a few minutes later to find them in the water, but as soon as they saw me, they paddled their way out and hurried toward me.

A few people came and went, marveling at their supreme cuteness. One man brought me a small cardboard box in which to keep them shaded and safe until Nicky came along. Before placing them inside, I gave them each a kiss on top of their sweet, fuzzy heads and wished the very best for their survival. I know their chances are not great without a mother.

Nicky was there within the half-hour and ended up taking them home with her. She fed them mushy rabbit food and chopped up dandelions and clover. They were very hungry. The ducklings will be fine with Nicky until she can bring them to the Toronto Wildlife Centre where they will rehabilitate them and return them to the pond if and when they reach independent maturity. She'll keep me posted and I'll do likewise with you. In any event, I know they'll be in the best hands possible.

Judging by the photos I've seen on Google Images, it would appear that the ducklings were between one and three days old. Please keep these little sweeties in your best thoughts.

Meet the wee, feathered twins.

Could they possibly be any cuter?

When some folks were leaving, they rushed to try and follow them.

They almost caught up with them too!

The two of them stayed close to one another. Everywhere one went, the other followed.

This little darling became sleepy in the sunshine.

And decided to take a bit of a nap.

So of course, his brother followed suit, and did the same.

Now, I know you might be wondering just how tiny they were. To put them in perspective, that brown thing on the right is the front tip of a man's shoe.

And if you're still not certain, here's one of them nestled in my own hand.

Same hand, different duckling.

That's more than enough cuteness for one day.


Pierre BOYER said...

Lovely !
So pretty !
Great pictures too...
Have a sweet day,
Regards from France,


ADRIAN said...

Awww! Funny there were only two....good luck to them.

Laura~Pretty Pix said...

They're so adorable, so small and helpless, too.
Thank you for sharing such a touching tale. I truly wish them well.

Anyes said...

Awww, I hope they get strong enough to make it :-)

Zuzana said...

Oh my goodness Hilary, thank you for this incredibly large dose of cuteness this morning.
So lucky for these little babies that you came by when you did. I hope they will grow up to be healthy ducks (or swans?;))
Stunning photography as always, particularly the closeups.
Have a lovely weekend dear friend,

Reb said...

What a fabulous pond you have. Love the photos, especially the second one with you holding him facing the camera. I hope they make it and are able to be released back to the pond in the future.

Birdie said...

I think you are the duck whisperer! And they are so cute my stomach hurts! I think that is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. I want to wake my kids up to show them but I know you will be here tomorrow. Oh, I am sending them good energy. They deserve to live. God bless their little itty bitty duckling hearts.

June said...

OMG. The "awww-ness" of their cuteness is more than tinged with concern for them. I'm so glad you have a friend who knows what to do with the little orphans.
Poor little babies, hungry and lonely.
Wonder what happened to mama...

Sueann said...

OMG!! I am almost on cuteness overload!! Ha!
Adorable and glad you got them some help. They wouldn't have made it for sure!!

Maggie May said...

Oh..... I really hope that they survive.
What a pity that they were neglected by their mother.
Just as well you were in the right place at the right time to give them a fighting chance through your friend.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Brian Miller said...

awww...they are so tiny and cute...saw baby turkey the other day about the same size...

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Who wouldn't want to have you as their 'mommy'?

Thanks for sharing the photos and taking care of those darling little 'peepers'.

Betty Manousos said...

wow!! AMAZING captures and close-ups!!

you're far to talented!!!! i know.
i keep repeating myself...but i can't help it.

I love all of them!
i also LOVE your blog!


Jeff said...

Yes, too cute!

Leah J. Utas said...

Oh, they are adorable.

Anvilcloud said...

Post of the Year!!

DJan said...

Here's hoping they make it. They must have had a guardian duck sending them to you, because now they have a chance. Perhaps they got separated from their mother and she thought they were gone. These little furballs must be a tasty snack for predators.

Thanks for saving them! My day has started right, thanks to you and this heartwarming story.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I do hope these little cuties make it.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Makes you curious, doesn't it, about what happened to the mama? Did she have to make a run for it with the rest of the family and these two got left behind? Or are they maybe the rebellious duo in the family who refused to follow Mama's orders? Maybe a predator got her. She surely wouldn't have left these two cuties without a good reason. I hope your friend, Nikki, will be able to raise them successfully. And, of course, I hope there will be more pictures.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Jeepers creepers! I am SO jealous. I can't believe they came back to you. Hope they do well without mamma. Yes, please keep us posted. :)

TexWisGirl said...

oh, i hope your friend can work her magic and save these sweeties! such precious little things!!!

TexWisGirl said...

p.s. dang it, this should be a POTW!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my, so tiny and vulnerable! I hope all goes well for them.

Lynne with an e said...

A touching story and charming images. Poor wee ducklings. Thank goodness the right person (you!) came along at the right time.

ellen abbott said...

Lucky for them, you came along. I guess there are bad mother's in the animal world too. or perhaps something happened to her.

Out on the prairie said...

What a bunch of cuties.We have 6 ponds near my home that are home to lots of ducks and geese, but i never saw an orphan yet.

the Bag Lady said...

Adorable! And lucky for them you happened along. Hope they make it.

Gail Dixon said...

Oh my goodness! My heart!! They are so sweet and I'm happy to hear they are being cared for. I wonder why, if the one female mallard you saw is not their mother, she didn't step in and help them?

Bob Bushell said...

They were lucky to have a friend like you. Gentle things they are.

messymimi said...

Thanks for sharing the story and sticking around to help in their rescue. Please do keep us up with how they get along.

Nick said...

Here ya go ducky, some bumble bee trivia : only the females sting (typical, huh?). Males have a spot on their heads, the females don't. So if you see a BB without the spot, leave it alone.

Name said...

Awww... My God. Will slip in a few words for them in my prayers.
They were sure lucky to have found you. And I am sure they will do just fine!

Unknown said...

"Make way for ..."

(Can you name that title?)

precious little things!

Tabor said...

ALMOST too much cuteness for me. OMG, they are just absolutely the sweetest. The only thing cuter in my life right now is grandson 3 and these do give him a run for his money.

Shrinky said...

Thank goodness, unlike all the other folk there, you had the grace and good sense not to walk away and leave them to their fate! Aren't they the sweetest little things? I do so hope they survive and can be rehabilitated back to where they belong.

photowannabe said...

I would say you are the Fluff whisperer for sure. Hilary you are the Hero of the day. I'm sure without your rescue they would have been some critters dinner. Great shots and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Cricket said...

1 sm. wild duck, dressed and halved
1 c. stock or pan drippings
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 c. orange juice
1/4 c. sherry
Salt to taste
Grated rind of 2 oranges

Brown duck in roaster with a small amount of fat; place fat-side down on roaster rack. Cover and roast at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until tender. Remove cover during last 15 minutes to brown. Pour off stock; skim off fat and reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Blend stock, flour, and sugar. Gradually stir in liquid and half of the orange rind. Cook until thick and smooth; salt to taste. Pour over duck on a serving platter. Garnish with remaining orange rind.

(Gasp!) Just kidding. Those little guys are far too small to... I mean cute, far too cute to eat yet. (Whoops) I mean to EAT.

But seriously, great shots again. And I would never eat cute little ducklings. Well, not these.

Sorry, just a little peckish this morning.

She Who Carries Camera said...

OMG.OMG!! I think this goes down in the archives of ultimate cuteness and priceless experiences. I have faith they will now be okay since you got involved. Thank goodness you took that walk when you did! I wonder what happened to their mother.

Karen said...

Can they get any cuter??? So glad you have a friend who could help. Keep us updated. Can they tag them when they're sent out-to know their where-a-bouts?

L. D. said...

They really are so sweet and little. They are such an animated creature when they are that small. They are one of my favorite to watch at our state fair.

Red said...

The Medicine River Wildlife Rehabilitation center has been fostering "lost" young wildlife. It has been wildly successful. You have some lost ducklings? Throw them in the first pond you find with ducks. The species doesn't matter. Ducks don't care what the species is.
Foster a fawn? Easy. Find doe with fawns. The doe becomes frantic to grab the abandoned fawn. Very few species will not respond to fostering.

larkswing said...

They are toooooo cute!!!!

Jayne said...

Oh they are just adorable. And apparently, not too camera shy. :)

ds said...

So cute! I hope they make it.

Hilary said...

• Merci beacoup, Pierre. I'm glad you enjoyed mes petits canards. :)

• Thanks, Adrian. I suspect there were more at one time. And a mother. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, Laura and thanks very much for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Thanks, Anyes. I do too. :)

• Zuzana, thanks so much for your always-kind words. I hope they do well, also. If I hear more about them, I'll keep everyone posted. :)

• Reb, thank you. I sure hope so too. The Toronto Wildlife Centre truly is a great place. They do so much to help ensure the best outcome for each and every animal. These little darlings have their best chance there. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Birdie, the only thing I kept whispering was "Oh, you're so CUTE!" ;) Thank you for the positive energy sent their way. Those sweet little innocents have no idea how many are rooting for them. :)

• June, I suspect a coyote or raccoon. I imagine there were other ducklings too at some point. Hopefully these two will do well. :)

• SueAnn, cuteness overload, indeed. They wouldn't have lasted too long. They were very hungry when Nicky fed them. I'm so grateful for her knowledge and caring. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Maggie May, I don't think they were neglected. I think that she, and probably other siblings were attacked by a predator. It makes me wonder how many succumb to this fate. Hopefully these sweeties will do well. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Brian, it's amazing just how adorable and tiny they are. And how goofy-looking turkeys become. ;)

• Thanks very much, Bonnie. I had no idea what to do with them. I was very glad that Nicky was home. :)

• Thank you, Betty. You're much too kind. And I really appreciate that. :)

• Thanks, Sage. :)

• Leah, they sure are. :)

• AC, nah... but thanks for the thought. :)

• DJan, your theory might be right. Apparently mallards aren't too clever when it comes to taking head counts. I suspect that it's the latter, though. Thanks for your very kind words. :)

• Ruth, we're sure hoping the same thing. :)

• Linda, I'm thinking predator. She wouldn't likely only have two. But seeing these little darlings sure was a treat, despite the circumstances. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Elizabeth they were kind of imprinting. Not true imprinting because they weren't just born but they were certainly following each other everywhere and were both following everything that moved. I've seen raccoon kits do that too. It's a do or die defense mechanism, I suppose. Something will either kill them off, or protect them this way. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• TexWisGirl, I hope so too. Keep your fingers crossed! :)

• LadyFi, thanks very much. Me too. :)

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Louciao. I hope they'll be okay. They sure were a joy to encounter. :)

• Ellen, I'm thinking something happened to her. I think it's unlikely there were only two ducklings. Just two survivors.. I hope. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Steve, I'd never seen any without the parents either. Though I've very recently seen a solitary Canada goose with just two goslings. Usually they are paired off and with more offspring. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Baggie, I hope so too. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Gail, from what I understand, mallards won't take in others young.. but a goose might take another's gosling or even a duckling. There just weren't any mothers with young on the pond at that time. Thanks for your visit. :)

• Bob, thank you. They're sweet, gentle and so adorable. :)

• MessyMimi, if I hear any more, I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Nick, thanks for the trivia. It can be very difficult, but with enough patience and interest, one can locate the bee spot. Or is that the gee spot?... ;)

• Welcome, Open Ends and thank you for your kindness. It's very much appreciated. :)

• Susan, that title would have to be "Make Way for Ducklings!" Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Tabor, I can tell you're kind of taken with them. ;) They are really adorable. It was a thrill to hold them. So vulnerable and so trusting. I sure fell for them! ;)

• Shrinky, I would hope that there are far more folks who would have found a way to help them than not. I was very fortunate that I knew Nicky otherwise I might have ended up bringing them to a center that was less dedicated to saving them, than the Toronto Wildlife Centre. Thankfully, Nicky knows her stuff. :)

• Sue, thanks for the kind words. I'm just glad that Nicky was able to take them. She's the one who knows how to look after them. I just handed them over. :)

• Cricket, Cricket, Cricket. You have a nasty edge to you! ;) Of all times to give me a recipe instead of a theme song. And peckish? That quacked me up. Waddle you do for an encore? ;)

• Jillsy, I'm thinking predator. Thanks so much for your very kind words. They're much appreciated. :)

• Karen, I don't think they could possibly get any cuter. I'll keep you posted if and when I hear anything more about them. :)

• Larry, you're right.. they're very animated.. and fast! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Red, these ducklings were in the same pond with a few mallards (their own species). The adults ignored them and eventually flew off. Our wildlife center tells us that geese display that kind of adoption behaviour but not ducks. In any event, the wildlife center will figure out what's best for them and do it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that info. :)

• Lailani, they are! :)

• Jayne, they weren't camera shy at all. Luckily for me. :)

• Thanks, DS. I hope so too. :)

Dave said...

Now that is extreme cuteness Hilary. They probably followed people because they were hungry and hoped to get food - Dave.

kazia said...

so sweet :)

Indrani said...

Lovely captures.
I wish one would settle down in my hand too.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, they're precious! I've never seen any so small. Poor little babies - I'm so glad you spotted them and knew who to call to help them. I look forward to updates!

Cricket said...

Ay. You're right. I didn't leave you a theme! Well, I can't think of one better than Cookin', by Pete Townshend.

Oops, I meant The Duck Song by Bryant Oden.

Got any grapes?

Hilary said...

Too adorable. wonder where their mom is??

Claudya Martinez said...

Aww, so sad that these little guys are orphans. They really are too cute for words and I hope they live a long and healthy life.

Anonymous said...

cute and adorable...
you did the right thing by calling your friend !!

Birdie said...

Have you heard how they are doing?

Hilary said...

• Dave, you're probably right. It's nature's way of protecting them by providing something/someone to protect them, or a predator which would get them. Either way, no prolonged suffering. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Kazia. :)

• Indrani, it was such a sweet experience. :)

• Barbara, I don't know if I'll know much more about them. I do know they're in good hands. They'll try their best to rehabilitate them and return them to the pond. We're very fortunate to have Nicky in our neighbourhood. :)

• Cricket, you did come by for an encore! You made me laugh, with your song selection of course. And yes, I do have grapes. Not even sour. ;)

• Hilary, perhaps a coyote belly.. or similar. :/

• Thanks, Mami. I hope so too. They tug at the Mommy/Mami heartstrings. ;)

• Thank you, thrviewfinder. She knows her stuff. :)

• Birdie, I've not heard and though I might possibly get an update, I kind of doubt it. The Toronto Wildlife Centre has a huge number of animals in their care. According to their website, they get over 200 calls a day at this time of year so I'm thinking an update, at least this early is unlikely. If I do hear anything at all though, I'll be sure to post about it. Thanks for checking back. :)

Anonymous said...

Wish all that cuteness would last forever. They are total little love bugs, aren't they?


Lisa said...

They are so so beautiful. Your sharing is beautiful

Hilary said...

• Snappy Di, they SO are! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Lisa. :)

L said...

Adorable! All nature's wee ones are cute. I wish all the best for them.

Linda said...

Sorry...the "L said" was me. Clicked before left my name/url.

Hilary said...

Thank you, Linda. :)

Teri and her Stylish Cats ~ Coco the Couture Cat, Brighton, Disco NoFurNo and Kely said...

Awwww, yes cute overload. Hugs to you for helping them!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Cuteness overload has occurred.
In all seriousness, I hope for a wonderful report of full recovery from you & your rescuer friend.

Lisa said...

Beyond Adorable! OMG . Amazing photos.!