Our little home sits a few blocks from a canal that comes off of a major river. During the blistering hot summer months, you will find us splashing on the beaches of this river almost weekly, but as summer turns into it's cooler cousin fall, the river starts to fade from our thoughts. And there the river lies dormant from our minds, until early spring.
Late February the geese signal the turning of the seasons with their return home. They fill their skies with their loud welcome home calls and their majestic formations. Around this same time the canal and river ducks (mallards, mostly) can be seen wandering around he neighborhood. The reason for this behavior is unknown to me, except that I have heard rumors the females often look for safe havens in people's yards to lay their eggs. And these ducks, who have lived their whole lives in a quiet part of the city, are very much aware of the food that is stored inside the homes in the neighborhood.
Around March we often can hear small groups of mallards quacking at our front door. Upon hearing the quacking, Kaylee fills with delight while she shouts, "Get the bread!" I, just as excited as she is, dutifully follow orders. We crack open the door to find a small gathering of ducks waiting on our front stoop. They continue to come several times throughout the month, happily gobbling up bits of bread before moving along to find bugs in our bushes.
And then as suddenly as they show up, our porch is quiet. We no longer find ducks following us to the mailbox or waiting outside our door, calling out to us to see if we are home. The absence of ducks lets us know, that the next phase of spring is upon us.
Last week, Kaylee and I were riding our bikes along the canal when she let out a gasp that was so loud, I was certain something horrible had happened. She instantly jumped off her bike and ran towards the canal, "Look mom!! Babies!!" Sure enough there were 13(!!) ducklings swimming along the canal behind their mother. Our first duckling sighting of the year. For the next few months we will walk along the canal to find it spotted with fuzzy little ducklings following their mothers along the water.
Next March I am sure some of these ducklings, all grown up, will be quacking at our front door looking for some scraps of bread and we will be eagerly awaiting their visit.