More than once I’ve found one of the resident ducks here stuck in a bucket – literally wedged inside a water container, with his nether parts (which are not insignificantly large) anchoring him down, weight exaggerated with water absorption, and of course insufficient negotiating room to wiggle up and out of the plastic straitjacket. The rate at which these animals manage to get themselves into Lucy Ricardo type predicaments makes me sometimes afraid to even leave the farm.
Yesterday during evening chores I went to hose out and refill the kiddie pools for the ducks and found William the Pekin duck (whom I would estimate to be in the lower half of his class) flapping about in the larger pool, completely unable to figure out how to scramble out of it. Ducks do this every day, world-wide. But not our William.
Now the IQ level of birds varies widely. I’ve heard that any given duck flock, for instance, shares one brain. Therefore, the more ducks, the smaller the brain share per animal. I would like to serve as witness that this is absolutely true. Just between you, me, and the lamppost, I have a lot more respect for chickens. They are bright enough to figure out that at dusk they need to go up high where creatures of the night cannot reach them; they can create a pretty wide range of sounds (which I interpret to be vocabulary or at the very least, phonemes). And their social interactions are complex and not unilateral. In contrast, I see ducks as being rather like the Vikings in the Capital One commercials – conquer, pillage, and fall on your face.
Today, upon returning from a meeting, I found Derry (livestock guardian dog) dancing and barking around a currently unused 300 gallon water trough. I heard an unearthly sound coming out of it. Slightly annoyed (OK who’s gotten himself into trouble THIS time), I approached the source and was truly surprised to find a big black crow, half submerged in the rainwater that had accumulated in the trough, jumping up and trying to exit without landing in Derry’s jaws.
Now, one of the smartest birds are supposed to be crows. I’ve never especially minded crows, though if we’re talking big black birds I do prefer the black vultures – but that is another story. And crows hang out around here a lot. But I’ve never gotten up close to crows. I’ll bet that most of you who have seen crows, think of their profile – which is distinctive, of course. Long, sharp face with an impressive beak – they almost look one-dimensional. This little guy, however, when he turned his head and stared right at me, had a cute rather round-ish face. His eyes were pure shining ebony, and his plea for help was as clear as if he were speaking to me.
I wondered if he were too water-logged to fly, but I secured Derry, and tipped the trough over and off he soared, without a second thought.
I think all of us get stuck from time to time. The more we flail about, the more exhausted we become without, however, solving our problems. For those of us staunchly independent types, the notion that we need someone else to come along to facilitate our exit from a bad situation or mind set is uncomfortable, at best. We think, oh no, I’m gonna look just like that idiot William the duck, clueless beyond belief. But we need to remember that even the smartest, most capable of us get bogged down from time to time, and, just like the crow, often all we need is a slight tipping of the container to allow us to exit (and exit gracefully, too!).
It made my day to see that beautiful black bird go free; allow someone to do that for you, and you participate in a marvelous connection of forces that lifts up both freed and freer.
Till next time,
Star Gazing Farm 501(c)3
A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats