A DUCK`S TALE OF FAIRWAY NO.2
Les Elias / mynicowynd.com
I am a mallard duck male, a drake. I spent all my life at Nico Wynd golf course. There used to be more ducks here when I was growing up. They had more cousins than I have now, but our population has been decreasing every year. It's all because of a pair of bald eagles living here as well, nesting in a tall tree at the No. 3 green. They have off-springs every year and we are an easy prey for them to feed their fast growing chicks.
But the eagles aren't our only problem. I do not like crows either - because they catch our baby ducklings. Just look at them in these pictures.
Now here is my life story:
I hatched in a nest hidden in the tall grasses near the No. 9 hole tee box. It was so well hidden, almost invisible. To see what I mean, just try to find my mom in the next pictures. My dad was always with her to help and guard.
I hatched with my sisters and brothers and always followed our mom to the ponds around the golf course. It was better than living in the wild, because here, we had everything we liked. The grass is green all year around. There are shallow ponds, and many different trees and shrubs to provide shade and cover against eagles. We did not need to fly anywhere else.
And we didn't mind people playing golf. Many times they would feed us different food which we could not find ourselves... like bread crumbs, chips and crackers...even a piece of fruit sometimes. I still do not understand why they hit and chase small white balls. But the people here are friendly to all of us ducks.
Then one day I met her and my live changed. We would always be together ever since, days and nights. We had several favourite areas on the golf course. Different spots in the winter and the summer... in mornings or in afternoons...
The story I am going to tell you happened on a spring time-afternoon –when we were eating grass at No. 2 hole fairway. Around us there were people playing golf. We were in the middle between the tee box and the green, which is usually a safe place, because golf balls fly high above us. That is - unless some player mishits it and then the balls may fly or run closer to us. But we ignore it. No duck had ever been hit by a ball here. Until today, until now, when...
…a golfer hit the ball. It was a bad hit. The ball was flying low,just above the grass. We ignored it. Then I heard it. It was a very short hiss – any bird or any animal would understand it. It was the sound of death. I quickly turned and I saw my mate laying flat on her back, motionless.
I froze in despair. I came closer. A pair of geese came quickly as well,but we all kept our distance from my dead partner. Was she really dead?
As I stood there, frozen in horror, two big crows landed near my partner, and slowly started to approach her.
Crows are scavengers, they would eat anything. Even carcasses of dead birds. Nothing is too big or too small for them.
As I watched helpless, one of the crows came really close to my mate and looked at her. Seeing that she was not moving, the crow called her partner to join in. They now knew she was dead and started pulling at her feathers... carefully at first. They feared that she may still be alive.
To their surprise, and mine as well – she suddenly raised her head. The crows immediately hopped back.
I was so excited. She was alive! She must have been weak, because she collapsed again.
The crows waited.
Aftera while, they gathered their courage, and came closer and started at her again... pulling her feathers. And again she turned and raised her head.
The crows waited a short time but realized there was no meal for them to be had and left. And to my relief, so did the geese.
Now we were alone. And I patiently waited for my mate to recover enough so we could leave. Then, once she was up, we flew over the nearby dike to the safety of the river...
Here our story ends. We still live on the same golf course, but we don't go to the No. 2 fairway any more. Though the Nico Wynd golf course is still the best and the only place on earth I would want to live.