|The 'ducks' converge, Lake Ginninderra, Canberra|
It was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” We
–that is my two year old granddaughter, her Dad and I had gone down to Lake
Ginninderra in Canberra to do a bit of duck feeding. We called them 'ducks' but really they included all
kinds of water birds both native and domestic–
coots, herons – colloquially known as “garbage chickens,” one large black and white domestic duck,
several native ones and a swan.
It was an experiment
really. Knowing that it wasn’t a good idea to feed them bread, especially the
native birds, we had three kinds of duck food with us – mixed bird seed, dried peas
and cooked rice to see which the ‘ducks’ would prefer.
|They came from near and far, even this swan....|
|... and an actual duck|
Soon they were converging on us from all directions and they
weren’t at all fussy about what they ate. There was a veritable feeding frenzy
which got so bad that we had take refuge behind a low palisade of rocks
to stop them ripping the little baggies out of Miss Two’s hands. Even that
barely slowed them down. The big duck and the swan were already making their
way up and over the rock embankment.
|Still they came|
|Then someone has arrived with a loaf of white bread|
Just as we feared being attacked, someone a little further
around the lake broke out a bag of white bread. There were a few seconds of
confusion as ducks streamed in both directions – then they took off en masse.
“Ducks” have no loyalty.
|After a moment of confusion they were off. There is no loyalty amongst ducks|
And the upshot of our experiment? Yes, there was a slight
preference for peas, but junk food wins every time!