Friday, December 25, 2009

December 25: Christmas Ducks

A few times on Christmas, Mother Nature has given us the gift of an unusual wildlife sighting. One year, my dad and I saw a flock of Bohemian waxwings--one of my favorite birds--settle into a tree right outside my parents' house. Another year, we looked out to see an otter on the river ice, apparently eating a fish, eyed by a bald eagle in a nearby tree. This year, as I sat down to my computer after enjoying a lovely Christmas brunch with friends, I noticed three black ducks waddling up the snowy bank from the river, probably scoping out our yard for acorns. That in itself was kind of cool. Although we see ducks almost daily down in the river, they've never before visited our back yard. But then we noticed that a pair of wood ducks was also moving up the bank into our yard. The male wood duck has such exotic coloring and patterns that seeing one at any time seems like a gift. And here he was, mate in tow, hustling through our yard on Christmas Day. Wish they'd hung out long enough for a photo.

(Thanks to Wikimedia, here's a photo I would like to have taken of a male wood duck)

Now a squirrel's digging in a patch of dead leaves, but somehow that isn't as festive and exciting. Still, Merry Christmas, squirrel! I hope you and the ducks find a holiday treat under the snow and leaves back there.

Wood duck in my yard--
gaudy as a Christmas gift,
a gift worth sharing.

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