Saturday 10 November 2012

From whistler to whisperer

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”

Duck facts 
  • 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.

The chicken whisperer
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!


  1. Replies
    1. They are lovely Poppy. In the Southern States they congregate in huge, gregarious, whistling flocks. It's quite a sight.

  2. I would just get your neighbours to put in a small gate between your gardens!

    1. The only boundary at Boundary Cottage is between us and our neighbours. We would have to keep the gate closed or the animals would all escape into the neighbouring fields.Last year the rheas escaped when our friends were out!
      We had to entice them back with tasty food!

    2. Sounds like something out of The Good Life! Obviously never a dull moment though.

  3. I keep a few garden hens but if I were to have ducks, it would DEFINITELY be these! They are gorgeous.

  4. Great pictures! They look really curious so it's no wonder they want to investigate your garden.
    A friend of mine in Scotland has a little flock of them - they look brilliant on his big pond and whistle at every passing seagull!


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