Saturday, March 24, 2012

Let Sleeping Ducks Lie

(Photos: Brad, Piggly and Wiggly catching up on needed rest the other day.  A goose and duck couple relishing rare and special moments of the year.)
It seems that every year brings with it, a very small and peaceful window of time that allows for rest, renewal and lightheartedness.  
For most birds (and other wildlife) that tiny window of opportunity and wellbeing is the early spring.
It is a time when the bounties of food and pleasant, nurturing weather are plentiful and a time prior to the challenges and stresses of raising young.  
So it was, when most recently visiting Harlem Meer that almost all the birds were either resting peacefully or playing in the water.
A group of starlings madly splashed and seemed to be having the time of their lives by the lake.  One could almost hear them laughing as they bobbled up and down in the water like small children splashing in swimming pool on a summer's day.
Several pairs of mallards were sitting together by the embankments and one duck pair strolled romantically on a grassy lawn.
And there was one goose pair who enjoyed sunbathing and preening together under a tree by the Dana Center as if they did not have a care in the world.
But, perhaps the greatest surprise of all was the "Bradley Brigade."
I found all three ducks plopped on the grass in the fenced in area near the Dana Center.
They were actually sleeping in the middle of the day!
In all the months of seeing Piggy and Wiggly, I have never seen these birds actually relaxing.
And I would have to go back to the early spring of last year to recall Brad resting in the grass.
Then again, it made sense.
This is not a time the ducks or geese have to spend all of their days foraging for food. Nor is it a time where they have to constantly swim in order to try and keep warm or prevent the lake from freezing over.
There are no little ones yet to watch over and protect.
And there are no preparations to make (i.e, fattening up) for what could be a cruel and meager winter as the birds have to do in the fall. 
When seeing all the serenity and relaxation around me, my heart lightened and warmed to match the sunny and beautiful 75 degree day that surrounded.
And although having some treats in my bag, I decided not to arouse the three sleeping and peaceful ducks.
It is such a small window of time that they get nurturing and caressing days like this past Thursday and Friday, that it was better to let the sleeping ducks lie and catch up on needed rest.   
And indeed, today temperatures have slipped to the low 60's and next week they will drop down to seasonable levels. (50's)
But, for those few special days of the year when almost everything is perfect, non-demanding and non-threatening, wildlife does get its chances to just kick back, rejuvenate and renew. 
I bet the animals are thinking, "That only life could be like this all the time!"
Or, more likely, they don't have to think at all -- just enjoy for the brief time they are blessed with the peace and wonder of these few special and magical days.

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