This morning I went for a jog with our puppy Spanky in the cold sunshine and came home to find my husband quietly taking pictures from the driveway. He said “Shhh, there is a bald eagle” and I started to panic a little bit, but he quickly added “it got the male duck!” and I instantly felt some relief. Now, before you get the crazy idea that I’m a cold and heartless jerk, let me explain why I was not too upset with what had happened.
The bald eagle waits patiently....about 75 feet above the farm in a Douglas Fir
It all started a few weeks ago when we’d catch the duck trying to mate with the hens – he was quite brutal. Once I saw him grab a chicken by the neck and pull it down in front of him to mount. At first I thought – as long as no one gets hurt, and I’d separate him from his victim. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened, he killed a chicken early last week and since then we have been struggling to figure out what to do with him. At night we kept him in an area separate from the other birds just to be on the safe side. We knew we could find him a home – either as a pet or dinner, but our real concern was with Minnie, the little call duck who adored him. Every morning she would just lay in one spot waiting for him and would quack in delight when he was let loose out of his confinement and they’d waddle off together towards the pond. Now, I just need to find a new call duck so she won’t be too lonely.
Right after I got home, I ran and made sure the rest of the chickens were alright. They were all huddled up under a shrub (including Minnie) and extremely quiet. They are so smart and know to hide – what good girls! So I locked them all into the barn where they would be safe from the raptor who was waiting patiently in the trees… all day long.
While the bald eagle took care of our “dilemma”, I will miss Mr Duck’s cute little quack and waddling around. He killed one of my hens and I could be all dramatic and call Mr Duck a rapist and murderer, but after all he was just a confused Pekin duck and nature took its course. Its a bird eat bird world out there and that is a risk of keeping poultry free range. He was white and slow – a prime target for a predator, literally a “sitting duck”. We’ve only had bald eagles here a few times and my kids are fairly obsessed with them, we all watch them in awe. They are amazing creatures and I admire them enough that I am not too upset over what happened. Thankfully it didn’t grab Minnie, or else who knows how heartbroken I’d be!