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Along the Lakeshore: Oct. 8

Getting inside the head of animals

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human feelings, motives or characteristics to animals. I certainly have the tendency to try and see rhyme and reason in what the ducks and other water fowl that pass by my windows are up to. It also leads people to get emotionally involved with their dogs, cats or other critters that cross their path.

For some time now, I’ve been watching a clutch of mallard ladies that were as many as seven and have shrunk down to two this week. We have had a few gaps in the visitations when I guess they all went to the mall. I have not gotten emotionally entangled with their comings and goings as they are big girls and were probably born in the spring of 2012.

Saturday afternoon I sat on my chair at the dock and generally soaked up a wonderful afternoon. A group of three ducks, probably born in early spring 2013, came paddling along. They were out for a cruise and were headed somewhere slightly south of my vantage point. The water was quite flat and they paid no attention to the white foam. They just plowed through it. One paused and dipped his bill into the foamy water, but didn’t seem to render any opinion about it and just carried on with the journey.

It seemed very similar to my three youngest grandchildren, grades six through nine, taking off in the paddle boat to explore Loveless Creek. Just a bunch of kids enlarging their world. The following Monday evening I heard the significant racket of two juvenile ducks honking their hearts out looking for their lost sibling or friend. It just about reduced me to tears as they had drifted past all the spots I had seen my threesome visit. They were obviously calling out for their buddy Charlie. The urgency of their cries left no doubt that Charlie had come a cropper and they were hoping he was just lost and they might find him. It was not long before they stopped the noise and headed back north. I guess they accepted that Charlie was a goner and they should get back to rustle up something to eat before finding a roost for the night.

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