Wintering Ducks

Wintering Ducks

Ducks in Winter

Looking out my second floor window on the east side of my home, I see the dam and watch the water spill over then flow under the bridge and continue on its way to Sturgeon Lake.  On the west side of the house, is the millrace that flows over the “little dam” just under the “little bridge.”

A family of ducks is living below the dam this winter.  There are four big white ducks that apparently cannot fly, along with a number of smaller multicolored ducks and a few dark ducks.  The story I hear is that their wings were clipped.  I have noticed that to get below the dam from the millpond, they swim to the east side of the dam; walk up the hill to the top of the dam, then down the other side and into the water below.  They reverse this process to swim in the millpond.

Life appears to be good for the family living below the dam this winter.  They seem to find enough to eat, as evidenced by the sight of their tails in the air and heads underwater repeatedly.  After an hour or so of fishing (or whatever they are doing), they let themselves float under the bridge and to the water just beyond the bridge where they can get up onto land and have their naps or whatever ducks do.  They seem to be faring much better than last winter when, either they made an error in judgment, or the weather overtook them.

The millpond froze early last year and we had ice clear into the millrace.  The duck family kept just ahead of the ice and that seemed to work for a while.  There was food to eat underwater, and they still could walk on the ice up to Dr. Smolarz office for the cracked corn they found strewn there.  For some reason they stayed on the west side of the pond.  And, when the millrace froze, they were trapped.

The only open water was directly under the bridge and they could not go over the race.  There was very little food and it was too far to walk to get the corn so they sat on the ice, swam in the little bit of water and sat on the ice some more.  They were a mournful sight.  The winter was cold and the millrace remained filled with a layer of ice for several months.  I wondered whether the ducks would survive as I watched them huddled on the ice.  Finally, the ice melted and they were released from their prison.

Maybe it was just luck, or maybe someone in the duck family remembered last year and led the ducks to the east side before the ice trapped them.  In any event, this year life is good below the dam.

This entry was posted in Local Chatter. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.