Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Discovery

A Discovery

We still wondered how it could be that Pipke and her dad were the only ones with a crest. While her father had rather only a small wisp, Pipke's crest was much larger. She had a beautiful full crest.
One day, one of our neighbors, who lives much further in our street, saw us working with Pipke in the front garden. It was the first time that he saw her. So, we started to chat about the disappearance of the pond and the ducks. He agreed that the place was now less attractive. We said, that we still couldn't understand that Pipke was – except from her father – the only one with a crest. “Oh”, he said, “I have a surprise for you both!”
He enlightened what had been a riddle for us for such a long time: he had had – more than ten years ago a few crested ducks on his pond. There was no fence around this pond, so the ducks were free to go where they wanted. One day – they suddenly disappeared – he never saw them again.
He assumed that they went to the woodland, there were brooks, thus: an ideal place for them.
Probably, no – even for sure, this hadn't been the case.
Pipke was the proof and also the result of it.
These crested ducks must have visited the pond on the other side of our street, they must have mated with the mallards there. We asked him: “but how can you explain that from all those ducks that have lived there during all these years before, not one had a crest”.
He couldn't give us an answer.
In fact, now one riddle was resolved, but it brought up a new one.
Therefore we started to look up some more information about Crested ducks.
At the time that Pipke was born we had no Internet, so we discovered the truth only five years later.

This is what we've found.

The crested duck is a domestic breed developed from the common mallard.
It's a medium-sized duck with a plump body, short legs, and a flat rounded bill.
The tail is short and the wings are short and pointed.
The color can vary, and some crested ducks have a large crest on top of their head.
They weigh  around 4 to 6 pounds.
The Crested Duck’s crest was probably produced by chance!
Only about half of the offspring from crested parents will also have crests.
About one fourth will be non-crested, and due to deformities of the skull, the last one fourth will “not survive” to hatching! Because of these deformations crested ducks are very vulnerable to health problems.

Can you imagine “how lucky” Pipke was!

First: she was the only one in her direct family who inherited the correct genes from her ancestors which made it possible that she could develop a full crest, and it had taken more than ten years to come at the surface. That she had this beautiful crest was thus – only pure chance!

Second: that she survived her birth, was almost a miracle, especially if you think about the circumstances it took place in.

Third: her mother deserted her nest before she was born, and all her little brothers and sisters didn't survive.

Fourth: the day of her birth, I was forced to stay home because my injured leg. It was pure chance that I stood by the window, watching at the heavy rainstorm, and that I looked down at that particular moment.

This all must have been “predestination”!

In fact, I had always been attracted to: ducks.

Already from an early age I was drawing ducks.
I also embroidered ducks on a baby sheet and pillowcase, and do you know what?
You wouldn't believe this: I embroidered two ducks with an umbrella!

Almost fifty years later – I strolled along in my garden – with my sweet duck under my own umbrella!

Now – I still find it very unfortunate that I don't have the baby sheet and pillowcase anymore. Once my mother gave it away as a present for a new born baby.
I wished that she hadn't done that, then I could proof what I'm saying here.
It sounds almost too beautiful to be true now – but this is the truth – believe me!
Later in my life, when I bought decoration pieces for my home, I had a preference for ducks: duck postures, a duck cookie box, duck almanacks, an apron with ducks, dishtowels with ducks, oh – I'll spare you the rest.
I'm now talking about things I bought long time before Pipke was born.
That we found then years later a construction ground with “ducks” as neighbors, that wasn't obvious either.
In Belgium you can't find many places like this, with a natural front garden and a pond, and certainly not in a street.

All three of us were very lucky!
Ducks – ducks – ducks: it was definitely predestination!

Next time we will continue with: My Soft Spot for Animals.

Thanks for your visit

Till next time!


  1. Fran, This is such a BEAUTIFUL website. The pictures are wonderful and I love reading about Pipkin. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the compliment Ramey :)
      Hope you will enjoy Pipke's story.

  2. oh My! she really was lucky, remembering she had to visit vet 295 times

    1. Thanks for your comment Ambur.
      I hope that your "babies" are cured now!

  3. Fran, please we are also interested in YOUR story since Pipke. How are you? How is your life? Hope to hear from you again!

    kristy (danger panda)

    1. I'm glad to see you here Kristy!
      You ask me to let you hear from me, but I can't talk about my life and my situation right now openly on my blog, it all lies all too sensitive!
      Therefor - I've tried to contact you by email but I've received the following message:
      Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender.
      If you want me to contact you may I ask you then to be so kind to mail me your correct email address!
      Thanks in advance!

  4. thank you! I look forward to further installments.

    1. I'm glad to see you here again Terry! :)

  5. great post with a good lesson on duck genetics :)
    pipke was lucky indeed! and you'd think she'd have some sort of half crest but her's was so beautiful!

    1. Other crested ducks have often much larger crests Tabitha, but I agree hers had the correct proportion. :)

  6. Fran, it's nice to re-visit your blog and Pipke's story. You've done a marvelous work of love.


    1. I'm glad that you're back Jeannie. As you already know, nothing was too much for my dear Pipke! Writing her story has helped me through my grief and working on her blog now makes it possible to shift the last two horrible years to the background!
 I will never forget your blogs. Yours and those of Jen encouraged me to start one myself (1/21/2009). It was such a good time then. Actually I'm longing back to that time: then we didn't know yet what would happen to us, but - the most important is that we survived it!
 Thanks for your visit dear friend! xoxo