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Posts Tagged ‘Jump Day!’

Thirty-four days. Our wood duck hen sat for thirty-four days. We were losing hope, afraid the freeze back in March did it. On Sunday morning I got a text from a bayou neighbor, “Today is jump day for one of our houses!”

“Our duck has been sitting for 34 days. No hatching yet. I’m not sure we should keep waiting.”

“Mine sat for longer than usual.”

So I flipped over to our RIng app. Did I hear cheeping? Mother hen was eating a shell. They were hatching!

You probably want to know how many, but it’s nearly impossible to count when they are little blurry black blobs wiggling.

Monday was Jump Day. It was also a school/work day. We had to rely on the camera. Jeff set up a new Ring camera outside of the house in order to record the jump. Around 10:00, I checked the cameras. Gone. All the ducks had jumped. I missed it, but the camera did not.

As I showed the video to my student, Avalyn, she named the little ducklings. “Come on, Tiffany, you can do it!” she urged as one of the babies hesitated to jump. Avalyn also wrote a poem-song (impromptu) to celebrate Jump Day!

Wood duck, wood duck
open your shell.
Come out, come out, come out now!
Little duck, little duck,
quack with your snout.
Little duck little duck, little duck
don’t you frown
Come play in the bayou
and make no sound.

Avalyn, 2nd grade
Jump Day, 2022: Watch the lower right corner to see Momma Duck come back to get a wayward duckling.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

We saw from the camera in the box that the babies were restless, chirping and jumping over and under mother hen.

We set up our stations distancing ourselves from the nest box and from each other and waited.

Silent meditation. No sound except the birdsong. Gnats were circling my face. I had to touch my face. I coughed. I couldn’t sit still.

Mama wood duck peeked her head out of the hole. Was she ready to jump? An hour passed by.

We thought maybe our presence was the problem. We moved up to the deck, and occupied ourselves with crossword puzzles, Kindle books, and hot tea and muffins. Another hour.

Sunday morning boaters passed. Our neighbor began pressure washing. I worried that there was too much activity for her to feel safe to call her ducklings.

She hopped out, and like a speed boat, thrashed through the water zigzagging back and forth. Was she warding off predators? Another hour.

“I saw a jump!” Minga said in a loud whisper. And sure enough, little fuzzy black blobs were falling from the house. I clicked my camera shutter quickly. In less than two minutes, clusters of wood duck babies followed after their mamma and were gone into the cypress knees of the opposite bank.

Three hours of watching for three seconds of Joy! Best Sunday service ever.

Blur on the left is wood duck jumping.
First group of jumpers equals 7. Second bunch 5 for an even dozen.

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