Saturday, September 01, 2007

Henry

In July, I told you about a little yellow duckling in our nearby pond.

It's been a busy month, hence NO posts during August (!) but I actually have managed to carve out time to visit Henry, as we've named him, at least once a week to check his progress.

Lately, I've been heading to see him after work.

I get to the pond around 8ish, with the sun low in the sky. I sit on a bench and often Henry will motor over to investigate, hoping, I imagine, for breadcrumbs. He makes eye contact. He quacks. He cranes his neck to get a better view. He waits a bit, feet paddling, and when no crumbs are produced he goes about catching insects hovering on the surface of the water, or nibbling at various aquatic plants.

He's quickly endeared himself to a lot of people and I'm not the only one who comes to see him--I've met a number of elderly ladies who have grown quite attached to him and we chat about him at the pond's edge.

You may recall that a female mallard seemed to have adopted Henry. He is still pretty much inseparable from her and her other duckling. When I arrived to the pond this morning, Henry and his adopted sibling were snuggled together on the shore with the female mallard not far away.

I was planning to get some photos for the blog, to show how he's grown.

As I approached, Henry was the only duck not to cast off into the pond. It didn't bother me initially, but after a few photos he was still sitting there, blinking at me. Was he sick?

I took some bread from my purse, which brought the other ducks circling back onto shore.
Henry seemed not to notice. I threw him a few breadcrumbs, which he ate, but he still didn't get up. Odd, I thought, since he is usually quite animated.

Finally, I watched him stand and head slowly toward the bank. I threw a bread crumb after him, which he turned to accept, but another duck snapped it up, nipping at Henry aggressively. Henry shrank back. I threw him another breadcrumb but he ignored it, sliding into the water and paddling away.

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but my heart sank. I know it sounds ridiculously melodramatic, but I think something's wrong. I've never seen him like this. When he was the tiniest little duckling he'd bravely zip into any feeding melee and successfully compete for food like a duck many times his size. What's happened??? I really hope he's not sick. I'm going to go back tomorrow to see if there's any improvement.

Everyone has off days I suppose.

2 comments:

Jasmine said...

Can you ask a vet to make an on-site visit? I know New York vets will do that, also Italian ones. My aunt asks them to do so, and were she not so forward about it I would never have known the service was available.

Get better Henry!

CC said...

I had no idea you could ask a vet to do that! Hopefully Henry won't need a housecall...it seems like he just had an off day...