The rain in my backyard stays mainly in the aviary. I can’t put down enough straw to make it dry under the open parts of the roof. I tried putting down a metal remnant from another cage, but when I stepped on it, it filled with water. I now have a half dozen pairs of sneakers lined up outside the door that need the mud hosed off of them.
I don’t have any ducks, much as I would love to have them. I wouldn’t mind geese or even swans, but I know my abilities and property are not up to that much impact. Still, the beautiful birds attract my attention whenever I see them out and about. When I watch my friend’s aviaries, his NeNe geese are a joy to behold. They are fairly accepting of me, as long as I have lettuce or a water hose with me.
I’ve been thinking how easy my life would be if all my outside birds were waterfowl. The rain has been lovely in an area where drought is the most common condition. But water from the sky is not fun for tiny finches, doves from dry lands, and button quail who don’t perch up off the wet ground. My solution has been to raise the button quail cages off the ground and cover them with tarps.
Tarps are a way of life for me in winter, just as misters are in summer. The main aviary has a large corner under a roof and is not a problem. Two of the outrigger cages have enough roofing and side covers plus they don’t touch the ground. They rest up on wooden legs. But the newer pair of outrigger cages seem to face into the prevailing winds. There’s a roof and sides and they are up on legs but I feel they need more protection. So I throw a tarp up in the evenings and pull it down on sunny days. I know I can make this work better, as soon as I get a few sunny days in a row.
There’s a man-made lake and park in an area where I grew up that has had small minnows in the water and therefore a flock of ducks in residence. When I mentioned to a fellow bird keeper that I should have raised ducks, he commented that there is a flock of Canada geese up near him. They seem to have settled in as much as the ones I saw on the lake.
Close to my house there’s a flood control channel which has helped save the town from major flooding. Next to a golf course with water hazards, that section of the channel attracts a lot of waterfowl. I have taken my dogs there so they can enjoy sniffing the area and barking at the ducks. Simple pleasures for both Tilda last year and Astrid this year.
My dear friend Becky, now gone for two years, loved ducks, too. We would walk three times a week along the flood control channel path and look for ducks, along with dragon flies, hummingbirds, and odd song birds that happened by. We sometimes stopped and identified trees growing in the area, too.
When I was a child, I would get so excited around Easter when the feed stores would have chicks and ducks in the windows. One year, my mom gave in to my begging and let me get a pet duck. This tiny duckling fit easily into a small bird cage. I faithfully fed and watered it every day and cleaned the cage. But I was too young to know that it needed a pool to swim in and enough room to turn around. Luckily, my brother happened to check on the duck after a couple months and saw the sad shape the bird was in. While I knew it was the right thing to do, I still cried when we found a farm that was willing to take my pet in. I’m guessing he lived a longer, happier life in that new place. Love isn’t always enough for our pets.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.