There’s a mixed-race couple of ducks in my neighborhood that charms me. I like to imagine how they got together, to make up stories of what they thought when they met each other, who was the first one to decide, “Maybe you’re not so bad, I could do with you,” and whether she says to him every morning, “Okay, today we’ll stick together, but tomorrow you’re out.”
Male ducks are notorious rapists, forcing themselves on unwilling female ducks, and even ganging up in little packs to attack solo females. But in this case, the male is a mallard and the female is a big white duck, probably an escaped domestic. She’s 50% again his size. I don’t let the dog go near the ducks anyway — ducks have it rough enough without needing to escape curious Jack Russell terriers — but the white duck is bigger than Zelda, and I suspect she could do damage if she felt threatened. She’s definitely not letting the little mallard bully her.
I am actually making an assumption about the white duck–it could be a male. But it used to be alone. A little flock of mallards patrolled the lake, while the white duck hung out in a corner by itself. Then the mallards split up into pairs, leaving a lone male to sulk on the side of the lake, moping and making the occasional hostile run at the others. Over the past week or so, lone male mallard and white duck have moved closer and closer together. Several days ago, as we were walking down the path, lone male gave a warning chirp and woke up white duck. They waddled away in the same direction. Yesterday and today, they were together. Not snuggled, not like the pairs of mallards, wing-to-wing as they float on the peaceful water, but with only a couple of feet separating them.
Two lonely ducks, finding each other.
It might actually be the most romantic thing I’ve ever witnessed.
No picture of the ducks, because I can’t seem to remember to carry my phone with me, but here are some pretty flowers.