For the Sheer Joy

Quack, quack, quack, quack! Even their descending quacking can sound like laughter.  No wonder they make me laugh so. You know already how I feel about duck butts if you have been following my stories. I laugh. Out loud.


Ducks just seem to know how to have a good time.  This time of year, they appear happy as can be.  It is warm, the ice has melted on the pond, the males and females have congregated and it is time for play. They chase each other about, splashing and quacking, and sometimes running on the water flapping their wings. I can’t help but feel good watching them. Again, if you accuse me of anthropomorphizing, I am fine with that.

I watched a pair for a long time one day. They were separate from the others. It was an intimate sort of moment, with soft quacking, chasing and splashing. They would dive under together, be gone for a few seconds and come up together. Then the female started rolling. For the sheer joy of it; over and over she went horizontally, her little orange feet kicking each time she rolled onto her back and paused there. Then somersaults – over and under, head over webbed feet. Then the two glided past me, the sun refracting his brilliant iridescent blue/green head feathers, and her soft brown camouflage. I watched their peaceful togetherness, their reflections bright in the water.


Parenting styles differ among ducks. Sometimes the male stays to help, but usually not. About three years ago, I watched two mama mallards over a few weeks. Both started out with seven ducklings. I can never get over how cute those little yellow, brown and black ducklings are. One mother, maybe a first time mom, just couldn’t control the little ones.  She would call and call and they paid no attention to her. They stayed fairly close, but spread out, playing together. She seemed at a loss as to how to get them together. She seemed to say, “kids! Um……uh..come on now, KIDS!!” They would disregard her completely, until she was finally able to physically one by one gather them into a line.


Found on Pinterest

The other mother, only had to softly quack once, and they all came immediately and formed not a line, but a close knit clump. From afar, they looked like another adult duck. I thought that was one smart mama!


Found on Pinterest


Each day, sadly, the mother with the scattered ducklings had one less little duck in her line up. Snapping turtles, raccoons, herons, large bull frogs, coyotes, hawks, owls and weasels could easily capitalize on her lack of skill.

The other mother, incredibly still had seven. I loved the very soft “baap baap baap baaps” she made to them, and the little peeps back. Someday, I really ought to record a duck and duckling conversation and play it back to myself while falling asleep.  It is soothing to my heart.

Once one got separated from the family and was frantically and loudly peeping in panic. She did not go to it. She silently stayed with the others. She couldn’t leave them vulnerable. The sound drew a coyote near. She flew near it and feigned injury, quacking in pretend pain. The coyote chased her. She easily got away, then came back through the reeds for the other duckling, and again there were seven.

mom and baby duck

Found on Pinterest


The creek dried up that summer. The adults all left, having lost their broods. I looked for our one family every day, but finally assumed them all dead. About six weeks later, walking by the dried and cracked soil of the creek, I saw them. Eight full sized ducks that all looked alike, except one was slightly larger – the mom and her seven children waddling through the tall grasses. Against all odds.  I was thrilled! Soon after, the rains came and filled the creek, giving them the ability to run along the water to take off. I like happy endings.

I have such mixed feelings about them nesting here now. We have water in the creek now, but will it last? I have learned to let that go. If they make it, wonderful. If not…well, I need to love compassionately and unconditionally, not sentimentally. Otherwise, it hurts too much.


According to Ted Andrews, ducks have been known to symbolize emotional comfort and protection. Because of their connection to water, they are linked to the feminine energies, the astral plane and to the emotional states of humans. They can remind us to care for our own emotional natures. As they eat by dipping their heads into the water (hence duck butts), they can remind us that our emotions can give us sustenance. They can be very amiable and display a wide variety of emotions. All ducks have grace upon the water, reminding us to handle our emotions with grace and ease.

They do not move well on land. This could reflect an inability to feel comfortable with most people in your life. They may reflect a need to find comfort in your own element and with those of like mind and spirit. The mallard is a very prolific duck, and are a nice animal to meditate upon this time of year.

momand dadduck

Found on Pinterest

baby and mom duck


As you study them, you will find ways of applying their habits to your own life.

Tomorrow is Easter, and I think of the surviving duck family. I thought them all dead, but they came alive and rose to the sky.  May we all die to the old, and resurrect a new life, full of possibilities and dreams. May we be blessed throughout the year with new energy and a birthing of our true heart’s desire. May our thoughts be clear and loving as we create our world. May the waters of life flow through us as we meditate and pray for Love, Happiness, Peace, Hope, Grace and Ease.

Happy Easter everyone!

If you would like to know the pre-Christian roots of Easter as a celebration of the Spring Equinox, Sindy published a great history on her blog this morning. Read here.


29 thoughts on “For the Sheer Joy

  1. thank you for sharing this mary…and so synchronous as i just returned from the wildlife sanctuary here that has tons of bird species and was watching ducks…among other birds. 😉 happy easter to you!! quack quack ❤


  2. I enjoyed reading your entry Mary. The picture you posted always makes me say “Butts Up” upon seeing ducks on water. Happy Easter


    • Hi Marian!!! Thanks! Nice to see you here. Butts up. I love it. Happy Easter to you too.


  3. Hi Mary
    Maybe one of the female mallards this year is the inexperienced mother of three years ago and she will successfully raise her entire brood this year:) Through your acute observations I was able to enjoy the irrepressible frolicking of the ducks. Thank you for the fun! I especially liked the tranquil and warm relationship of the two ducks separate together. I’m hoping all the little families will survive. All creatures must eat and as you said we must be able to accept nature’s ways. It is hard though. I suppose life on the edge makes it so much sweeter to the survivors . Wonderful blog, Mary. Would love to hear the mother duck speaking softly to her babies. What a treat that would be. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so, Jenny. Or maybe one of the daughters of the successful mom, as she had a strong, stealthful role model. Yes, it is a sweet tranquil conversation between the mom and ducklings. Comforting. Thank you for commenting. ❤


    • I’m glad you liked it, Cate. She amazed me – against all odds. Happy Easter. It is a beautiful day here today. I hope your enjoy yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ducks are fascinating to me. We used to frequently walk on the Riverwalk in Farmington where we were always able to observe the ducks. They are very interesting. And duck butts are hilarioous.


    • I love them. They are so pretty and fun to watch. I would never tire of listening to. them either.Thanks for your comment.


  5. Happy Easter, Mary. A cloudy, rainy day here. A good day to be a duck. Thanks for your writings. We`re enjoying a day of reflection and relaxation. Peace.


    • Hahaha, a good day to be a duck. Maybe it will rain one of these days and I can be a duck that day. It’s too windy here today to have much fun as a duck or human. Happy Easter to you. Peace and Love.


  6. I loved your blog bog on the ducks. i saw two sleeping together on the ditch bank just yesterday. They had a nest near by, you could see a hugh pile of leaves, some feathers sticking out on the ditch under some trees but close to the water.
    The two were just contenting themselves sleeping close together in the sun as though nothing new in the world was happening. Very peaceful. They are very pretty and very prolific. just think if you laid twelve eggs and suddenly you had seven or eight babies to count and take care of!! Boy, I couldn’t preform that task!


    • That’s nice to see the little scene on your ditch bank. Peace and tranquility. No, I don’t think I’d be up to the task of sudden motherhood of 8. I sure hope some little ones survive this year. Thanks for commenting, Michele.


    • Thanks! Such a great teacher, Nature. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


    • That’s nice, to think of you here watching them with me. Thanks for your comment, Sindy. I really appreciate and am going to accept the Leibster. Just a really busy month. Thank you so much for it. Oh- we saw our first butterfly of the season yesterday, Easter. Fitting. 🙂 ❤


    • Thanks Sandy! Yeah, it is interesting to me to see how different animals parent. Ducklings are so freaking cute.


      • That is so nice! They ARE fun to watch. Once I was at some kind of aquarium type place – can’t remember where. The way it was set up, you were sort of underground and could see the pond from the bottom up. It still cracks me up looking at duck feet from below! Thanks for thinking of me, Sandy.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Balance | Walking my path: Mindful wanderings in nature

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