Pool on the Hill

It starts with a huge splash followed by manic flapping of wings, punctuated by a few quacks: a cherished early rite of spring.

Year after year, a mated pair of ducks land in the neighbor’s pool to herald the coming of spring, despite the snow that often still flew. It was always so exciting to hear that initial splash, followed by our excited chorus of “they’re here, they’re here!”

We often wondered: could it possibly be the same two ducks every year or was it their offspring who picked up on the pool where their parents left off?

No matter, it was soul soothing to watch them as one went off to find food for both and the female disappeared to sit on her nest in a secluded spot nearby. It was fun to hear the splashes of their landings in the pool, and the enthusiastic quacks of the greetings they gave each other. Then one day, mama duck emerged with her ducklings waddling behind her and soon, they be gone, until next year!

Next year came, and so did the ducks. Only before long, the male duck was alone and he started screaming and screaming and screaming. It was heart wrenching and a clear signal something was very wrong. The female didn’t return and he was screaming for her. Surely she would return? She didn’t. On the road the next day, there sprawled a duck, silent and dead.

Gradually his cries subsided and eventually, he left the pool. Ducks mate for life, so I wondered if he’d find another mate and another pool.

This is the first year it’s been quiet in the pool on the hill. No splashes, no quacks, and no joyous welcoming of spring except for the forsythia that blooms, yellow and quiet, in our side yard.

Rosie and the Unfortunate Rabbit

It’s that season where daffodils, like lace collars, surround neighborhood homes and broken robins’ eggs, way early to be hatching, end up cracked victims to strong spring storms.  It’s also the season when mother animals forage for food for their babies, prowling mostly at night when they are “safe,” only they often aren’t.

If looks could …

Enter Rosie – our ferocious and fearless hunter. Several days ago, Dominic was up early with the dogs,  and as is his 5 a.m. routine, he let them out. This is then what he described to me: He saw a dark thing run like a bullet across the yard, followed by another bullet by the name of Rosie. This same duo shot across the yard again, and then a third time. And then – Rosie approached the back door, tail wagging, with a mouth full of rabbit, and a good size rabbit at that. Needless-to-say, the rabbit was no longer with us.

I wanted to cry when Dominic told me this story, and all I could think of was a nest full of baby rabbits who were now without their mother. My instinct was to get mad at Rosie, who by the way, is part Boston Terrier and part Cavalier King Charles. However, a little research enlightened me to the fact that Boston Terriers do indeed have a high prey drive , and since she’s ¾ Boston Terrier, well … I just hope that all remaining local rabbits do not find their way into our yard under the alleged safe cover of night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYpzRCLnHSg