Since she knows much more about birds than I do, I decided to take Jodi from Cape Ann Wildlife’s recommendation to find an eider raft of sitters and young about the same age as the orphan duckling to release him to, in the hopes they would accept and take him in. I walked all around Rocky Neck with him until I saw a crèche of 4 sitter aunties and a bunch of ducklings near a dock. I went to the end of the dock and held up the baby who cheeped loudly and the eiders looked up at him while eyeing me suspiciously. I asked them to please take him and set the duckling into the water. He started to paddle but then immediately keeled over on his side and died. I fear the 52 or so degree water was just to much of a shock for his little body which had become accustomed to being in a warm environment. As I walked away, I looked back and the eiders were heading in his direction, although he was rapidly being pulled away by the current and there was nothing they could do for him. It was very sad and I feel awful, although I and everyone who got to meet and know him was enriched by the experience.
I saw this little creature running up Freemont Street on Rocky Neck, all alone and scared. I (with the help of Wanye from Sailor Stan’s) chased him down and caught him. I knew he would be a cat or other critter’s meal in no time if left to his own devices. After a bit of research, I found that he is an eider duckling, probably about a week old. He has an incredible appetite, once I discovered that he loves Mary’s Gone Crackers organic, gluten free crackers crushed up and made into a watery porridge. He also likes shredded lettuce, and loves being in his water bowl and food dish. I don’t know what to do with him/her, as he is too tiny to put back in the cold water by himself and I don’t know what eider he belong to. Their mother’s apparently preen them putting oil onto their down so they can withstand the cold water, so he gets cold and needs to snuggle in my hands or under my armpit after being in the water to warm up. A precious visitor to Hobbit House who loves being held and is very chatty. I make the mother eider’s ruck, ruck, ruck, ruck call to him, and he gets so excited. So great to be back on Rocky Neck, where anything can happen, and the most amazing things do.
Hobbit House Studio
What I failed to mention was that there were two adult eider just to left of my frame. Incredible coincidence having all these birds together.
I shot this video out the window of my office here at the dock. Talk about a birds eye view!