When we got home from Michigan, and I went out to check on the birds, 4 of our ducks were missing. I could hear loud quacking in the distance so I followed the sound all the way across the State Route to the river on the other side. Yup, there she was, Bossy Pants, swimming around on the other side of the river. No sign of the others. My mind was racing, what to do, what to do?? It was cold and dark and there was a river in between us – really, no chance I’d catch her. So I said a prayer she’d be safe overnight and I went home.
The next day Josh and I went back with the 4wheeler and a net, hoping we’d find her still there. We picked our way back down to the bank but couldn’t find her at first. We rode and walked down about a quarter mile stretch of river. A concerned neighbor gave us some binoculars to use since we’d forgotten ours at home. The task was made more difficult by the snow on the ground which acted as camouflage for our white ducks. Also there were loads of wild ducks and geese out swimming.
Finally we heard Bossy Pants’ distinctive loud quacking up the river, and I broke out running. There she was! She’d gotten herself stuck in a partially frozen area.
Josh joined me with the net but in trying to get out to her some tree branches broke and made a loud noise, scaring her so much that she broke through the ice, free out in the moving water.
We went back for the rowboat. We tried and tried to either catch her or corral her over to the shore. The thing is that our boat is old and cumbersome and we don’t even have any real oars. We had shovels! What a poor plan thinking back on it but we were feeling desperate to catch this one duck knowing the others were almost definitely already dead.
Exasperated, we finally decided it was time to throw in the towel. We got the boat out, and I looked back down the river to see where she was. She’d climbed out onto the shore. I told Josh that I was going to try our neighbor’s trail one more time and see if I could get close enough to net her.
I got down to the water’s edge and there she was, tucked into a log resting. My only chance was to go in the water and block her from swimming away. Without thinking about it too much, in I went. Man it was cold (outside temps were about 10). Initially I thought I’d only have to go in ankle deep and I had my boots on but I was soon in above the knee. My boots were full of freezing water and my coveralls were saturated.
I did it though. She watched me but didn’t move to escape. I didn’t even need the net. I was able to reach in and grab ahold of her then Josh came down and took her so I could climb out. My knees were getting stiff almost immediately. I was so happy she’d be safe though, I wanted to cry.
I’m guessing she and the 3 others were out ranging and found themselves being chased by coyotes. She made it to water but the others didn’t. I don’t know why else they would have wandered so far. Poor duckies.