You’re Ducked

, , , | Learning | April 30, 2018

(The preschool where I work backs up to a green space with a creek and a pond. It’s been there for several decades and most of the wildlife know better than to get too close to the playgrounds. The exception is a duck couple we’ve had some problems with. Last year they nested under a piece of playground equipment on the toddler playground, something we were only alerted to when a toddler found the nest and crushed two of the eggs together. We closed the playground for five weeks and waited for the ducklings to hatch. They never did, and we were forced to clean up the mess. This year, the same duck couple attempts to build another nest in the same spot. I move a toy over the spot, but she returns the next day and tries to redo it. Frustrated, I call the local bird society. The woman at the bird society gives me advice.)

Bird Society: “You can do pretty much anything you like to harass the ducks: running at them, yelling at them, spraying water. Anything is okay, as long as you don’t physically injure them. And once the nest is built and contains eggs, it’s illegal to disturb it.”

Me: “We’d close the playground once there were eggs. But twenty two-year-olds kept inside for more than a month is a nightmare.”

(I thank her for the advice and am all geared up to use it when I spot the ducks on the playground again. They are both there, looking for all the world like a house-hunting couple who has shown up to view a property, and are waiting for their real estate agent. Unfortunately, I am in a classroom full of children, and cannot go running at them to discourage them from nesting there. The best I can do is yell at them from the door.)

Me: “Hey! Hey, you ducks!”

(They look at me but remain unfazed.)

Me: “Go away! Shoo! Um… This is a bad neighborhood! Terrible property values! Roving gangs of toddlers!”

(They just stared at me. Yeah, we closed the playground for five weeks.)

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