Some of you may remember that in late May, a visiting (and unleashed) neighbor dog startled our duck, Mr. Bodgepie, into the air. Instead of circling around the house as he usually does, then landing, Bodgepie was so upset that he just kept flying. He flew south, and we found out a few days later, from a neighbor, that he’d taken up residence on the Zumbro River, maybe 3/4 of a mile to the south.
Several captures were attempted, but failed. We resigned ourselves to the idea that he was down there to stay, since he’d have to do some major flying to get up out of the river bed and over the trees, high enough to see our house and barn.
Late last week, 39 days after Mr. Bodgepie’s flight, Melissa looked out the front door and shrieked, “He’s back!” Somehow the boy managed to get his heavy carcass up into the air high enough, and far enough north, that he recognized home.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that his wife Helen was a little miffed that he’d left. She had to raise their three ducklings herself. (Actually, she does this anyway—the males don’t really participate—but this is my blog post, so I’m going to imagine she’s feeling a bit huffy about this.)
As we watched Bodgpie pie waddle toward the barn, I said, “If he turns left toward the food, he’s hungry. If he turns right into the barn (where Helen was), he wants sex.”
Not surprisingly, he turned right. Both Bodgepie and Helen wagged their tails, so this was good. But then Helen decided to punish him for abandoning them. No nookie for Bodgepie.
Here are Helen and her ‘babies’:
Mr. Bodgepie was frustrated, to say the least. (I should note here that our rooster died last fall, so our hens have been celibate, not by choice. Whenever I come up behind one of them, she assumes the position, hoping I can help. Ah…no.) Sunday morning I witnessed a most disturbing sight: Bodgepie trying to mount one of the hens. I broke it up before he damaged the hen, but I suspect she might have been inviting some action.
Bodgepie has always been polite—he spent months wooing Helen before she would trust him. Turns out this time he wasn’t willing to wait months. Yesterday, in a flurry of wings and huffing, he chased her out of the barn and, well, nailed her. Apparently this is how it’s done down on the river.
For his sake, I hope he remembers that this isn’t how it’s done on this farm. We’ll cut the boy some slack, given his traumatic nearly 40 days and 40 nights on the river, so hopefully he’ll remember how to be a gentle duck again.
Another neighbor came to visit last night, with her dog unleashed, so we had to tell her the whole story. It’s great that neighbors visit, but we may need to post a signed: If your dog scares our duck back into the air, you’ll have to go get him and bring him back. Thanks.