Oh, what a week! But before I get to that, here are the links to my two latest posts for Live Out There. One is about hiking to Machu Picchu, Hidden Secrets of the Inca Trail, and the other is about preparation for road trips, What’s in Your Trunk: Advice From a Road Warrior. (FYI, since that one was published last week, I have put another 2000 km on my car!)

So… how is nature breaking my heart? No sooner had our first ducklings hatched and taken to water, then they were snatched up by a $%^&#$ raven. I told you in a previous post that “I was not that fond of ravens,” but now I can’t stand the sight of them. I had less than 72 hours with Tweedledum and Tweedledee before they became lunch.

Happy Duck family

 

The parents, Baby Girl and Curly, had been waiting patiently for 30 days for the first hatchlings to appear. It was Baby Girl’s first year laying, and she seemed to know what to do (we barely saw her, she only snuck off the nest for a few minutes every day). In the end, we found that she had laid 26 eggs before she decided to incubate them! (That’s way more than the usual number of eggs; check this out.) After the little dudes were born, she kicked the other eggs off the nest. We took the paddleboard out to the platform to see what was going on, and most of the eggs looked odd or rotten. One egg was still warm, though, and partially open, so we kept an eye on it; we could see that the little guy had broken his egg tooth and was having a hard time. Baby Girl spent most of the day off the nest and out in the cattails with her babies, so we brought the half-cracked egg inside to keep it warm and let it finish hatching. It was touch and go for the first day, but we managed to save “George” and although he has a bit of a bum leg, he is happy and seems to have recovered from his rough start.

Baby George sized

 

We also have Ferdinand, from one of Baby Girl’s first eggs. There are chickens in the family, and one of the Silky hens was desperate to be a mama. We swiped two early duck eggs and Mama Silky happily sat on them until one of them hatched (late shell death was the verdict on the other). Ferdinand is now as big as his mama (after only a month) and he thinks he’s a chicken, but that’s ok because George thinks he’s a human.

Ferdinand and mama

 

Annnddd, we temporarily had another duckling. When we went out to clear the old, bad eggs from the nest platform, we heard some peeping. Baby Girl was back on her nest, and another teeny, fuzzy duckling was stumbling around! That baby lasted a day, and then the #$%^&* raven got it as well.

To make my life even more stressful, Ted showed up the day the first ducklings were snatched. What the heck? I thought he was supposed to be frolicking in a mountain meadow somewhere! And then he showed up AGAIN today! I’ve been yelling at him, but he keeps lying down to eat dandelions… Oy vey! Nature… gimme a break!

Ted with fluff

 

Ted doesn’t exactly look ferocious with dandelion fluff stuck to his face though…