Monday, November 22, 2010

How to feed ducks

I buy dry corn for the ducks at Frog Pond. Defrosted peas are good too. So are seeds. When I come to the spot with the bench, the ducks hurry out of water and wait. Within a minute a raven flies over and finds a branch above.
The signs at the far end of the park, where most people who walk the trails won’t ever see them, say that feeding ducks isn’t allowed. When I’m there with my bag of duck food, I worry that someone will scold me for breaking the law. I have a response prepared: the ducks haven’t migrated anyway, and now they need their nutrition now. Most people bring them bread. It fills the ducks, but leaves them nutritionally deficient. I bring them corn.
People feel defensive when told that bread isn’t that great for the ducks. I haven’t corrected anyone, of course, but my kids have. My kids care about the ducks maybe a little bit more than I do, so they warn everyone who approaches—bread is bad for the ducks. The usual response is, but that’s what everybody does.
Year after year, poor nutrition and cold winters notwithstanding, the ducks survive.

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