Friday, May 24, 2013

Choosing her Partner

Choosing her Partner

June 1996

Obviously, now she had laid eggs we knew she was sexual mature, but we didn't think on how this would influence her behavior towards us, and especially towards me.
We thought: she would just go on laying eggs, and that's it! 
But – already a few times before, I had experienced Pipke bit me, at least – that was what I thought it was.
It happened the first time in the period she had made her first nest in the woodland, and now – a half year later - she started to do it again, but with a lot more force than before. 
Sometimes she bit me so violent, that I had bruises on my skin. It happened every morning at the moment we cuddled in the laundry room.
I then noticed – when I stroke her on her back she calmed down a little – but from the moment I came in the environment of her bum she began to squeak very heavily and she then bit me with even much more force.
When I fondled her at that place she became very exited and she then raised her backside.
So - I discovered what this meant: she had chosen me as her partner.
This was her way to show me, that I was her mate. She wanted me to mate with her.
For granted: I couldn't mate with her – I am not a drake – but I had to do “something” to calm her down and it seemed cuddling her this way was the only way to do it.
After a while, I found out, she was already satisfied that I fondled her and gave her soft pats on her backside – or I squeezed in her tail. She enjoyed it – she seemed to see “this” as mating.

From then on we cuddled – (this way) – every morning during the mating season and after the “deed” - if she hadn't made a nest already - then I had to go with her outside. 
She quacked and waited for me until I came outside to look for a good nesting place. 
We then looked very diligent together for the right spot while she chatted the whole time. She then really could be a chatterbox, actually - we both talked nineteen to the dozen.
The reed was one of her favorite spots. We then stood there together, while she inspected the place.
If she had made her choice she started to squeak very heavily. 
(This way of squeaking was then totally different, it was actually repeatedly very short quacking.) 
Working together on her nest and chattering without ceasing.

This was her way to say: “This location will do!” We then both took some twigs and dry grass and so we started to build the basis of a new nest. The further completion of the nest she did herself.
If she had already built a nest, she went on her own to it. She then ran very fast towards it and sat on it until she had laid an egg.
After she'd done that, she came to call me. 
I had to come outside to look at it. Then we went together to her nest and very proud she showed me her newest asset. While I stood there to inspect her eggs she was so exited, and again - it was chattering without ceasing.
Consequently the nest grew to a total of at least ten eggs. 
A nest at an other place.

But of course - these eggs were not fertilized and she realized it because she could perceive no life in it.
Therefore she then made a new nest at an other place, but obvious - and unfortunately for her - without the result that she wanted to achieve.
Unfortunately for her, I could never give her what she would have wanted.

I never could have thought that a duck would choose me as her partner.
I could never have imagined that our bond would grow so close and I could love a little critter so much.
In fact, at that time I didn't know it yet: but - the time “together with her” would become 
“the happiest time of my life”.

About this happy time I will tell you in the next chapter entitled: 
Living in the Woodland July-August 1996.

Hope to see you again.
Bye bey!

Thanks for your visit. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Her First Nest

Her First Nest

Begin April 1996 

Spring was in the air. 
Now we had thought Pipke would be more at ease, now that Chicky was no longer there but: that wasn't at all the case.
Very impatient she ran up and down along the back side of the fence.
We saw she wanted to be outside the fence, in the meadow there behind. 
Therefore, we opened the little gate in the fence towards the meadow so that she could go out if she wanted.
For the first time in our life we saw her running all alone through the meadow towards the woodland.
Now we were really very worried.
She was now totally on her own. 
There was no one to protect her now. We really were afraid for her safety! Would she be safe out there?
The woods had no secure fence, everyone had access to the place. There could be stray dogs and even hunters, in fact: it wasn't safe.
We didn't know what she was doing there, but - because she returned home in the evening by herself to sleep in her pen we were less worried.
The next day one of our neighbors told us that he had seen her there - just outside the woodland "on a nest"!
That was a big surprise for us! 
We didn't know that Pipke was a female!
Until that very moment it had always been a question ? mark for us. 
Only now we realized that the few light green eggs we once found in her pen, must have been “hers” and not Chicky's.
Without us knowing - Pipke had grown into a fine lady.

Of course, we were very curious to see where she was.
So we went to the place our neighbor had described to search her. 
We found her there, just outside the woodland, on her first nest.
This would become the most beautiful and highest nest she'd ever built.

Taking care for her eggs

You had to see and hear, how elated she was to see us there.

Very diligent she covered her eggs with tiny twigs and dry grasses and then she came back home with us.
The next days she went back to this nest. Thereafter she also made a nest at another spot, but then suddenly - a few days later she didn't go to her nest anymore.

In fact: we were very relieved, now we didn't have to worry for her safety any longer.
From now on she assisted us with everything we did in the garden: pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedge, we were never alone. Insects or bugs - they got no opportunity to expand excessive: she kept that in balance.
Working in the garden became now “entertainment” instead of a chore for us.
However, we had to take care where we stepped. Sometimes it was even dangerous for her. 
We had to keep an eye on her with everything we and she did. 
Sometimes she stood right behind our feet (to catch bugs that jumped up while we were working) without we knew it and: a few times it happened that we stepped by accident on her tiny paws.
It was heartbreaking to hear then how she squealed very loud from pain.
Then tears came to my eyes and I could really be mad at myself.
I tried to comfort her then. I then took her up, massaged her bruised paw and cuddled her over again and again. It even happened that she was limping afterward and then we were very worried, but eventually - to our great relief - it healed well.
Although she was cautious for the lawn mower – she knew the danger very well - “the spade” was something else. She associated it always with worms, her special treat.
See our insects controller/assistant gardener in full action!

So we had to be very careful if we'd the spade in our hands and she was in our proximity.

That Spring our garden got an extra portion of natural fertilizer.
Pipke was the one who took care for that also, and our young plants: they grew very abundantly!
After Spring comes Summer!
About that Summer 1996, I will tell you later.
Then I will go further with: Choosing Her Partner. 

Hope to see you then!

Bye, bye!

PS: sorry for the poor quality of the footage, but at that time we used an outdated video camera that gave not such good results.