Wednesday, April 07, 2010
When I was little, my mom would take us to the park downtown to feed the ducks. Since then, the park has been revamped with a new playground, fancy fencing around the "pond" (formerly a canal), and a pretty bridge.
We've been to lots of other parks around town, but never this one until today. Sure enough, the ducks were there waiting for us right by the parking lot! I was worried they might bother us at our picnic blanket if we fed them too close, but they weren't at all aggressive like geese can be. The boys had to follow them very slowly and throw the bread bits at a good distance so they wouldn't run away.
The ducks at our park were mostly Mallards, and sat or waddled about mostly in pairs -- one green-headed drake with one brown mottled hen. A flock of Mallards is called a sord.
The wild Mallard is the ancestor of most varieties of domestic duck. In areas where they are not native, such as New Zealand, populations of local subspecies can be negatively affected by interbreeding with feral Mallards.
We also found one Muscovy duck, who was definitely larger than the other ducks, and may have been blind, from how he was feeling his way along the rocks. He (she?) reminded me of the ugly duckling, although he wasn't a swan.
We took our library copy of The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese, a story about a Pekin duck who lives on the Yangtze River, and read it during our picnic.
When we got home, Littlest found One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, another library book I read to him this week, and "read" nearly the whole story from memory! So I have to recommend that one. :) He also liked Jane Yolen's story of Dimity Duck and her friend Frumity Frog.
The older boys enjoyed reading the short chapter book, Funny Frank, about a chicken who wants to swim like the ducks, and the farmer's wife who helps him.
I'm still waiting on Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, which is on the kindergarten booklists of most curriculums I've seen.
Do you have local ducks you like to visit?