Whistling tree ducks sometimes waddle into our garden.
The farm field at the bottom of our garden floods to create a natural pond. We call it an ‘up and down pond’ and in some years it dries out completely. Not this year, it’s been full all the time and sometimes it becomes quite extensive as water floods over the grassy field. This is an ideal habitat for the tree ducks that used to escape from next door on an almost daily basis. Unfortunately my neighbour has discovered their means of escape and it is only rarely that they come now.
I do love it when they escape from the next door menagerie. They enter the field rather like naughty schoolboys playing truant. They do everything together, in unison. They walk in step, they stand in the shallow water or on the muddy bank, completely still, both looking exactly in the same direction. They have rather a superior, condescending look. If I approach them, they remain quite still and give me a look of dumb insolence which declares “leave us alone”
- Their natural habitat is freshwater lakes and wetlands with plenty of vegetation.
- Native to many tropical regions, they are shot as game birds in America.
- They eat seeds and water plants, often feeding at night.
- Their call is a melodious whistle.
- They are noisy and gregarious, hanging around in big flocks in the wild.
- Not true ducks, they are considered a separate tribe in the goose sub-family.
A few miles away, Sue Doherty has a seven acre smallholding. She has recently started to blog about her animals. She tells me I ought to get some chickens to provide ‘living garden architecture’. I sometimes wonder whether I should just make a hole in the fence!