01/05/2011 § 5 Comments
As I wandered home from the paper shop yesterday morning, here in Cornwall, a small brown creature caught my eye. It was crouching low, hoping not to be noticed. It was a duckling! It seemed happy enough, sitting in the sunshine outside the garden gate of a neighbouring cottage, so I left it. Now, we’re enjoying a few days away and my leisurely breakfast demanded a top up from the teapot, and another slice of toast (homemade bread from Baker Tom in Lemon Street, Truro – highly recommended)!
As I waited for my toast to pop up, a loud and demanding chirping disturbed my peace. Duckling had followed me, it appeared, and was sitting on the back door mat of our cottage. At the same time, I noticed a predatory white tom cat passing the slatted gate at the end of the back yard. My family know I’m a bit soft when it comes to small creatures and although I will always choose to leave a wild youngster for it’s mother to reclaim, I can find no sign whatsoever of a mother duck or her remaining brood, here in the seaside village and I hated to think that the tomcat or a gull would finish it off.
I’ve called her Flora, as it’s Helston’s Flora Day at the end of the week …
Her temporary home, apart from when she’s on my lap, is the upstairs bath! I keep a drop of tepid water at one end and she particularly likes to eat her egg and noodles (in the temporary bank holiday absence of chick feed from an agri merchant) whilst paddling in shallow water. Her nest is a grassy cushion inside a newspaper ‘cave’, in which she cosies down to rest. As you can see, there are also some clumps of weed to peck in.
I’ve read up that ducks won’t adopt an orphan, and will frequently try to drown it, so I don’t feel that I can take her to Helston’s lake. Besides which, her mother surely wouldn’t fly back to Helston and leave her brood miles away by the coast?
She follows my hand around the bath and stays as close as possible. Enjoys her food by pecking it from my fingers and chirps whenever I leave her! Just like any other baby then!
I’ll keep you posted!
Adaliza in Cornwall
PS Happy Birthday Joe x