Ducks On The Pond ~ A baseball phrase referring to runners on base; used primarily when the bases are loaded.
Gypsy Hill is an old Victorian park in Staunton, Virginia. It’s been a park, in some form or another, since the 1890s.
Inside its 200-odd acres today are picnic areas, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, and a football field. But, the most popular spot in the park is the duck pond. The pond attracts both people and ducks.
But, mainly ducks. A whole lot of them. So many that the pond becomes covered with a blanket of ducks, like a real-life down comforter.
Photo: City of Staunton Parks & Recreation
And, when all those ducks get to quacking and elbowing to get the best spots in the water, some unlucky ducks are going to get run over, bullied, or pecked on.
I know, you thought ducks were sweet feathery things that just paddle around all day enjoying the scenery, didn’t you? Yeh, me, too.
But, the pond is like high school, and there are always a few bad seeds and bullies making things miserable for everybody else.
A few nasty ducks are bad enough. But, add in overcrowding and too many people feeding too much bready junk food that sickens ducks, and now you’ve gone from high school to something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
Somebody’s going to get hurt.
Not all ducks are bullies.
Although this one definitely was …
Ducky Medwick ~ A member of the famed 1930s-era Gashouse Gang on the St. Louis Cardinals. He waddled when he walked, hence “Ducky.” A powerful .362 career hitter, he also was powerfully mean and would brawl with other players and his own teammates – during and after games. He won the Triple Crown in 1937 (leading the league in hits, RBIs, and home runs), the last National Leaguer to do so.
This duck might be a bully, too …
Each year, a dozen or so Gypsy Hill ducks end up at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, in nearby Waynesboro.
These are often smaller ducks who fell in with the bad crowd and paid the price. The Center’s vets and rehabbers clean up their wounds, stitch them back up, and give them a little bit of healing time.
Editor/Husband works at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. And, that’s how two Wildlife Center Mallard Ducks, Patient #14-1373, a male, and Patient #14-1378, a female, ended up at our house on Thursday.
All healed up, they certainly couldn’t go back to Gypsy Hill Park. Our job? Find a comfortable and safe duck-friendly pond for them.
Hey, ducks, welcome to Paradise …
Our friends Michelle and Chris have a lovely pair of ponds at their home. They’ve helped Wildlife Center patients before, allowing a “soft” release for ducks who need a bit of a watchful eye as they ease back into life in the wild, or who might not be able to fly too well anymore due to injuries.
Their ponds are home to 10 assorted ducks and a gaggle of Canada geese. (I just wanted to say gaggle.)
We headed down to one of the ponds and slipped the Gypsy Hill ducks out of their crates.
Hey! No traffic jams!
Yoga stretch …
Just a couple ducks on the pond and plenty of room.
And, no bread, which is terrible for ducks and leads to severe malnourishment. I’m serious. Enough with the bread, people.
Michelle reports that the ducks are still hanging around on the pond. Although the ducks can fly off whenever they like, really, why would they leave?
Paddle your feet and take a spin around the pond. It’s Paradise, baby.
Previously in our wildlife releasing adventures:
There You Go, Turtle! ~ May 2014
Duck Photos: Madison County, Virginia. July 3, 2014