Birds of a Feather
Chimes Opinion Article
I have only ever eaten duck once. On the other hand, I have had numerous experiences visiting the nearby public park and realizing I have nowhere to sit due to the plethora of duck poop on every bench. With this in mind there has always been a vast incongruousness to the give-and-take relationship between the ducks and me: I don’t eat nearly enough duck to justify my consistent lack of benches. I thought we had a deal. Instead, I’m getting robbed. Robbed by poultry. It’s a sick world we live in.
Just recently a duck couple moved into the Tropicana apartment complex and began using the pool as a private resort. The literal love birds have spent the past month floating in circles, sun bathing and ruffling their tail feathers in my face. Part of me wants to welcome our feathered friends, yet somehow another part of me wants them to start pulling their weight around the place. So far the only contribution they’ve made is caking the bottom of the pool in a fine layer of duck turds. Granted, the pool is probably extremely cold and my Speedo probably violates both Biola contract and the Geneva Convention, but on the other hand I am an American and if I want to use the Tropicana pool despite the fact that I don’t actually live there, nothing should stop me. Especially duck poo.
It might be that my prejudice against the ducks is rooted in my past experiences with living poultry. Just the other day Beth and I visited the park on a lunch break for a quick little picnic. Within seconds we were approached by two geese that waddled toward us with their long white necks outstretched and their toothy beaks open wide. It’s a bit surprising how much they’re like Velociraptors in many ways (minus the ability to open doors). We tossed them some bread, too, but became distracted when we were also approached by a one-legged duck hopping toward us. Enraptured by this seemingly Dr. Suess-esque animal, I had forgotten about our current situation.
Beth glanced in my direction when she heard the fluttering of feathers. Suddenly she exclaimed, “THERE’S A GOOSE NEXT TO YOU!”
I quickly looked down and saw the deadly cold eyes of a goose staring right back at me, its beak only inches away from devouring my hand.
Thinking fast, I let out a high pitched squeal similar to that of a little girl, which had the unfortunate side-effect of causing the surrounding geese to mimic my scream with loud quacks. My only option was to toss away the remaining pieces of bread I had as a distraction and run away. The plan worked.
Upon returning to Tropicana I noticed that the male duck was floating alone in the pool, seemingly abandoned by his feathered companion. Repeated visits displayed a similar scene. Sometimes he would be drifting aimlessly in the water, other times he would be sitting on the pool steps staring aimlessly out across the surface. Occasionally he would tilt his head at an awkward angle to meet my eyes, and although his expression showed no emotion or cognizant capabilities, deep down inside I sensed a painful sense of isolation.
It was then that I realized I needed to push my poultry prejudice aside. After all, deep down inside, aren’t we all birds of a feather? Learning this, I tossed him a piece of Funfetti cake and tried to cheer him up, telling him that his duck love would one day return. Sure enough, she did. Or another duck that looked similar to her. Really all ducks kind of look the same to me. Even so I found myself appreciating our new duck friends, and if one day little ducklings come along, well, I’ll welcome them too.