Maybe in your neighborhood you have to worry about fast drivers, kids playing in the streets, potholes that eat tires and keep wheel alignments shops busy. Yeah, I remember all those things when I lived in the northeast USA, but they are not the concern in the neighborhood where I live now. Nope, our worry is ducks, especially this time of year.
South Florida has a good supply of waterways, be it canals, lakes, the Everglades or the Atlantic Ocean itself. So it is not unusual to have a lot of water-sourced creatures wandering our neighborhoods…especially ducks.
They are called Muscovy by breed and it’s hard to walk or drive around suburbia without having to dodge a few…or lots. You’ve heard of the ugly duckling? That’s the Muscovy. And this time of year is particularly ducky given that the male Muscovy gets pretty frisky in early spring. Consequently there are lots of mother ducks wandering the streets with a slew of new babies close in tow. And yes, just like the toy ducks, the little ones line up one-by-one behind their mother when the official marching orders are given.
This mother of 13 (below) has no idea of what “don’t play in the street” means. This past week she and her herd have been hanging out—mostly—in the middle of the street and she has enough of a entourage to spread completely from side-to-side. This other mother below her has only three to worry about. She probably had many more last week, but the circle of life, which includes the duck-consuming Great Egret, is a constant threat to the tiny chicks early on when they are most vulnerable.
Now, I personally have never witnessed it, but I am told that the duck seen on the menus at area oriental restaurants is….yep, Muscovy. That may make some sense…I mean, who wants to go all the way to Peking when there’s a Muscovy likely hanging around just outside the back door?
Well, as annoying as they can be, the ducks are part of the environment around these parts and they seem to accept us humans as we do them. And when push comes to shove, I suppose I’d probably prefer a bowl of pothole stew to a cup of duck soup.