I haven't wanted to write about the duck situation because my pool man's words keep echoing in my ears: "You'll be fishing dead bodies out of the pool until they are all gone."
I didn't have the heart to tell you that my pool guy found the eggs on a few days after my last post.
And that I found Mama nesting later that night. Or... that when some neighbors sent over their gardeners to clean my yard (yes, it looked that bad!), she took off and didn't return for several nights... and temps were in the 40s! I figured coons would eat those eggs.
A few days later, she was back on the nest and my heart broke for her. I would check on her on the cold nights we had and she was still out there. I figured time would pass and she would figure it out.
So imagine my surprise when I returned home from a busy day of wedding shopping (for the niece)
and found THIS:
Yes folks! That's ELEVEN baby ducks!!!!!!!!! So I took a bunch of pics and admired them. I curled up on the sofa after my hike and I could hear them getting louder. It was dark. I kept wondering how the coons would stay away from them with them being so loud.
Then I started thinking of having to dredge eleven baby bodies from my pool and by 10:30, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I started researching. It turns out, it's not the chlorine from a properly chlorinated pool that kills them. It's the fact that they can't get out of the pool that kills them!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!
Oddly enough, when I went outside to check on them again, Mama duck had drug a piece of last year's pool cover into the pool from the very back of the deck! The babies were all resting on that!
I started researching duck ramps. One suggestion was to wrap styrofoam in a wet towel. That didn't work. Still another was to anchor a piece of lumber... too slippery. By now it's 11:30 and I'm running around the yard frantically, considering which of my friends I can wake up and let them know just what a big nut job I am. In desperation, I ran to the back deck thinking I could stack the folding deck chairs in the water and create something with enough traction to get those babies out of the water. And then, I saw it: my sister's pool chair
My sister loves nothing more than to sit, floating in the pool and baking in the sun. She tans. My redheaded Scotch Irish skin burns. So, for years at a stretch, my sister's pool chair stands against a wall on the deck. I knew I could unfold the back and anchor it on the side of the pool creating a ramp with traction. Within a minute, it was in the shallower end of the pool and ready for the ducklings.
I got a skimmer and that piece of styrofoam and starting shooing ducklings. Mama got in the chair and I knew the babies would follow.
I went out again around midnight and 10 were in the chair. #11 was circling wildly. Finally, he got on board by swimming between the arm and seat! All were safe! All were now quiet!
This morning I checked on them and Mama had moved them further up the seat of the chair where it was dry. But they still had not returned to their nest. Check out Mama protecting her babes:
I called the hiking buddy and she came down and quietly came in the back gate. Finally all the babies were up on the rim of the pool!!!
Tomorrow: Crafting for ducks!