Never ones to look a gift duck in the mouth, and completely clueless on the subject of how to catch two ducks emancipated into the wilds, we did exactly what was expected of us when the mystery ducks appeared on our pond; we submitted to their presence and incorporated them into our animal care routine. In a riff on our beloved neighbor (who finally acceded that the ducks were escapees from his barn) and without any way to tell them apart, the ducks came to be known collectively as “The Steves.”
After my initial stale-english-muffin assault, the Steves remained at the water’s edge, notwithstanding additional incursions such as dog chasings. They demonstrated an ability to fly, albeit not high or far, in escaping these intrusions, but stubbornly refused to reliquish residency from our pond. I would take feed down and deposit it at the water’s edge, but the Steves kept their distance, and I was never certain my meager offerings were consumed by their intended recipients.
Although they demonstrated the ability to escape chase from our pack, one of the Steves became the victim of some other type of attack, so by mid-Summer, we were down to one Steve. Saddened by the loss of Steve’s companion, but without any alternatives except interia we continued to offer refuge for the remaining Steve, such as it is.
At some point in time, our incorporation of the duck into our routine appears to have crossed a line into assimilation. Maybe the assimilation occurred after the great poultry slaughter of June 2009, as an unlikely alliance designed to ensure Steve’s continuing survival. Maybe this was always the more social of the Steves, now left to freely fraternize with his pasture-mates. As I have readily admitted, we are not well-versed in matters of duck so we are at a loss for any explanation for this interspecial mingling.
All I know is Steve the duck, despite, or perhaps because of, his distinct size disadvantage, has appeared to join our small herd of goats and horse.