15 Oct 2013
After a few stunning fall weekends by the ocean gazing at skiddish water fowl preparing to flee to their warmer homes, I’ve come to love ducks. My new favorite ducks are called, Buffleheads. These snappy looking guys with the colorful name, bob their big heads and tiny bodies around the Massachusetts shores where I’ve been lucky enough to visit. I’m told by New Englanders that they arrived weeks earlier than usual and are hanging around longer.
I watched the ducks manage their changing positions while they bobbed — diving into the water for bugs and tiny fish. Their brilliance seemed to be adapting to each and every ripple and wind shift. At one point during all their bobbling, the flock of ducks stopped, spun their heads around and switched into carefully negotiated new positions — ducks in front moved to the middle or back, ducks in back paddled up to the front. Then they bobbed along floating to a new location. They were going somewhere.
Not often, but every now and then, a rogue duck would drift away. The pack would slow down to watch, and one or two ducks would glance back — then they’d all circle round and fold the wandering character back into the fray. They were going somewhere.
In this time of rising seas, diminishing shorelines and stranger than strange weather, skilled ducks adapt. Do they have a choice? They are going somewhere.
Photo: An adult bufflehead drake swimming, Shutterstock