Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

For the love of a Duck

Ducks are the dearest of creatures and one of my favorite animals here in 
Hopalong Hollow.
Who can resist those smiling bills?
  We have 20 ducks here in the Hollow, and they have split into 5 separate families. 
 Ducks do that.
We have the Osterhout family, Fionna's family, the Swedish pond duck family, A lovely couple named Mia and Jangles (who only have eyes for each other) and last but not least, the Tiny Tinks,(2 little orphaned ducklings)

 Duck families are very particular about NOT allowing OTHER ducks to enter their "space". Nor do they leave their family for more than a short time.
The exception to this rule is during mating season, when all the males go around like marauding Vikings chasing WHICHEVER female they wish to mate.
 Naturally, this produces many little offspring, 
this year we had 11 babies.
The Little Osterhout ducklings, from last Autumn, grew into big white Pekins and produced 5 wee babes.

Females can be distinguished from males by their quack, ( which is quite loud and boisterous) and the lack of a curl in their tail. Females are also very deferential to the males, it is observed by a cute little bobbing up and down motion of the head at a sideways turn.  They begin this behavior at a very young age and it is often my first clue as to the sex of a duckling.  Often, female Pekins have a more pale, yellowish bill than the males.
 
 Males have a little curl in their tail called a Drake feather. Their quack is more of a raspy, muffled "Queek" and they are a bit larger than the ladies. Drakes are very protective of their hens, will sit near them as they lay eggs or nest, and will fight any outsider attempting to defrock them.
You can imagine the countless "duck fights" we have during the Mating season.
 Duck fights are not very serious, as they really have no weapons other than the rounded bill, which does no damage at all. It is more of a tussle than a fight, sometime involving 4 ducks at once! It can be very humorous to watch.
 

Other than the occasional spats, ducks are happy, busy, sociable, charming, silly, cute and faithful mates
I think that  Hopalong Hollow ducks would be perfect for the book cover of the garden book.
Quack!
video
Here is Trudy's new family of five.

 P.S.  finished the "Seed Collectors"

34 comments:

  1. Hi Jeri,

    Such a darling, darling post!! I think ducks are adorable. We had two in an area of our subdivision in the spring and early summer. They were white, and so adorable. I was taken with them because we rarely see white ducks in the neighborhood -- just lots of Canadian Geese :( and mallards. One of the residents was feeding them, and she told us she believed they were both female. After awhile, they just disappeared and we don't know what happened to them. I was afraid to ask the neighbor, in case a wild animal got them.

    I told my husband I'd like to have some ducks for ourselves. Maybe someday. Just wanted you to know that I love your blog and really enjoy following along. Your artwork is clever and charming, and I wish I had your talent for drawing and painting. :)

    Have a great day!

    Hugs,

    Denise

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    1. Hi Denise, Ducks are a wonderful addition to your family, as long as you have a really good water source. A duck that can't splash all day is an unhappy person. I'm afraid the expression "sitting duck" is very accurate; ducks are so susceptible to predators as they have virtually no protection. Our dogs protect my fowl, but every once in a while, a sneaky critter comes in an steals someone away. We lost a mother duck this year because of it.

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  2. Thanks for sharing a little of the Hollow with us...I'd like to see more like that.
    Mama Bear

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    1. Mama, ALways happy to oblige, love my animals!

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  3. Oh dearest Jeri ~ What a delightful post! The Osterhout's are so sweet as little duckies and as your lovely ladies for the cover of your new book. Your artwork makes me feel happy.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Lorraine, Ducks make everyone happy!They always cheer me up as I watch their antics and see those cute faces.

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  4. Bonsoir cher ami,

    C'est un véritable plaisir que de venir vous visiter... Chacun de vos billets m'éblouit.
    J'aime comme vous parlez de vos canards... Je sens que vous les aimez beaucoup.
    Dans notre Périgord ils sont aimés pour leur foie...
    Je suis très admirative de vos dessins et j'adore la manière que vous les chapeautez !
    Les petits oiseaux sont également magnifiques.

    Merci pour ce délicieux partage.

    Gros bisous 🌸

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    1. Je vous remercie mon collègue artiste ! Je ne dirai pas mes canards sur la pate, qu'ils pourraient prendre l’offensive.

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  5. After a frustrating morning this post is the perfect antidote.

    Fascinating information about ducks. Who knew! Jeri, that's who.

    I loved the bit about the females being deferential toward the males with the bobbing of their heads. Sounds like they are quite the coquettes. I can just see that in my mind's eye. How nice that the males stick around and are protective of the prospective mamas. None of this "wham bam thank you mam" for them----quite the gentlemen.

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    1. Vic, Coquette is the perfect description! The males are really quite gallant with their ladies; not so noble with the ladies of another family,however.

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  6. Stunning book cover!
    The ducklings are adorable.
    Yesterday I watched from afar on the Cornell Lab Bird Cams, the ducks in the pond getting run off, wings a'flapping by a heron. If you ever set up a cam, that would be great. :)

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    1. http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/40/Cornell_Lab_FeederWatch_Cam/

      That's the link. At this very minute, the ducklings and adults are there. I can't see what kind they are, but I suspect some are Canadian geese.

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    2. Thanks May, I took a look, but it was dark and I couldn't see a thing. I will try later. I would love to set up a cam to see what my critters are up to when they think I'm not looking!

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  7. Even the under drawings are precious. I do the little head bob to my mallard family and they come right up to me on the back porch. Congrats on finishing the seed collectors. It is charming.

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    1. Hi Donna, You do have your wild ducks to enjoy, bob away!

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  8. Love the "Ducky" info..I learned something..some of which I had known but had forgotten...I just love your art work..what a great talent !!

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    1. Missy, another bit of info I didn't mention, on the downside, Ducks will not take in orphan ducklings. It is sad. But my male geese will care for ducklings in a minute, they are the very best of guardians.

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  9. Jeri, your completed Seed Collectors picture is quite wonderful...close observation meets imagination and talent. Lovely composition, too.

    Thank you also for all the duck information. I so enjoy learning about the various families who live in the Hollow. The video is charming!

    Perhaps I should start practicing my head bob. Every spring, some ducks introduce their offspring to the art of swimming over in Central Park's model boat pond, made famous in E.B. White's Stuart Little book.

    xo

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    1. Thanks Frances, that always means a lot coming from a fellow artist.
      Yes, do try out your head bob on the Pond ducks, you may be surprised at their reaction...(as well as the reaction from other park goers!)

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  10. I've been enjoying my seed collectors--Coneflowers do attract a lot of birds! Your ducklings are darling and your ducks look quite fancy all decked out in their finery. I do love the clothes and hats you make for your illustrations.

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    1. Cathy, i was thrilled to see a tiny yellow finch sitting on the Zinnias yesterday and poking away at the insides. If only I had my camera at hand...

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  11. hello Jeri,
    It was interesting to learn more about ducks, your ducks.
    They are delightful to see. You have captured them beautifully in your art, as though I can feel the spirit of each duck.

    The Seed collectors is wonderful too!

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    1. Tammie, although my ducks look nearly identical, Pekins are so alike, I recognize their individual personality quirks and can tell some of them apart.

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  12. Ohhhhhh...they are so sweet and I am in LOVE with your new illustrations!!! Gorgeous as always my friend!

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    1. Thanks Shell, these illustrations are much less detailed than my previous works. That is due to the nature of this book, which is not a storybook, but a garden lovers book.

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  13. teeeheeee..I LOVE DUCKS.

    Jeri, I could listen to you for hours. I am a huge animal lover, and truth be told, I unstress from the stupidity of human behavior in the media by turning to any stories involving the fascinating foibles and frolicks of animals. AND YOU are my woman to tell the stories! You and Penny. I had always wondered how you could distinguish between the sexes in the duck world, and now I know. The females ARE MORE VERBAL! HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH love it. And your seed collectors are just GORGEOUS. I still have to find the photo of the bluejays too!

    Well, I go back to school in a week. Next Friday, I enter into the world of teaching which is a great thing, but did I ever have a blast this summer just watching nature come into my garden. Enjoy your time as you finish off this duck family!!!

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    1. Anita, Oh yes, those gal ducks can quack up a storm! Glad you had a great summer, now it's time for another world. Same here, this is our show season coming up and we will have to travel again.

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  14. Lord love a duck! How I do love your critters and artwork so, so very much. My grandmother used to say "Lord love a duck" all the time and I took up saying it too, many years ago. It's an old saying spoken as an exclamation of surprise.

    We had a duck left over from Easter when I about six or seven years old. Quackers used to stand at the downspout on the corner of the house when it rained and enjoy a shower. Mom allowed it until he stirred up too much mud and got the siding dirty...then he was shipped off to my grandfather's in the country to live with the Easter chicks from years past. I really loved Quackers, mostly I think because he was so self-confident and thought everyone owed him undeniable devotion.

    You always bring to mind such warm memories for me. Thank you so very much, sweet friend.

    Diane in North Carolina

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    1. Diane, Your gramma was right to ship him to the country! Ducks can make and awful mess. When first I got 2 ducks, I had a baby's swimming pool for them. By the end of each day, it was full of mud and grass and weeds and whatnot.I finally set them loose in the creek, that works out much better for all of us!

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  15. Hi Jeri,
    Oh yes! I think your duck illustration is perfect for your Gardening book cover.. The colors are just beautiful, and your seed collectors turned out gorgeous!

    I have always wanted to have ducks, just never lived where I could have them. I also wanted geese.. Heck, a farm would have been wonderful.
    Thank you for sharing this sweet video.
    fondly,
    Penny

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  16. Penny, I like the colors too, especially now that I have painted all the Ivy with an aqua background... post it next week. Having the ducks is a benefit of farm living, among so many others. But you can have backyard ducks in many suburbs as well. All they need is a large yard and a constant swimming source.A large plastic pool works for many.

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  17. Oh dear Jeri-the duck drawing and finished painting are exceptional!

    My best pal as I was growing up was my duck, Penny. She was a Muscovy, which are not known for their beauty-but she was such a wonderful pal and loved me to death. Before I got her when I was 7 years old, I had a stuffed duck that I carried with me everywhere-I guess ducks and fowl were to be my lot in life! :) Much love to you....

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  18. Debra, It had to be love, as "beauty is in the eye of..."well, you know. Muscovies are not known for their good looks, but it seems she had a heart of gold

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  19. Dear Jeri this post was so interesting. I know so little about ducks-have always wondered how you knew which one is male and female. Your book cover is going to be divine and the Seed Collectors is superb! Thanks for this lovely post. Hugs!

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