Excuse me … I’ll just be bold and ask: “did you bring me treats?”

Even more kindred souls walk amongst us

As promised, I have just a few more tales I’ve been collecting about animal/human interactions, like this story my friend Ann Marie shared with me recently.

You may recall, I was appalled (and even joked a little) about the swan parents taking the “sink or swim kid” attitude with their cygnet while riding the wild waves at the Detroit River. However, I was quick to praise the efforts of the geese and ducks in taking care of their young. Sadly, as wonderful as Nature is sometimes, there are often occurrences that make you stop, take note, then shake your head in disbelief.

Really … who would harm, or push away, a sweet duckling?

Thanks to a fuzzy, brown-and-black Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar, I met my good friend Ann Marie at Council Point Park back in September 2014. We struck up a conversation as she watched me studying a Woolly Bear caterpillar that was inching across the perimeter path. I was pondering whether its markings meant we’d have a cold and brutal Winter. Nothing scientific there; I was merely following the folklore of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and yes, we had a bad Winter because of the caterpillar’s coloring. Okay, maybe there were other circumstances too, but …. FYI: if the caterpillar’s rusty brown band is wide, then it will be a mild Winter. The more black there is, the more severe the Winter.

Ann Marie walks past a pond on her daily walk. The same day she read my post about the Mama Duck and her ten ducklings, she also saw a Mom Mallard with her ten ducklings in tow. But sadly, just two days later there were only five ducklings trailing behind their Mama. Ann Marie wondered and worried if the other five ducklings fell prey to a predator near the pond. A few days later, in her morning jaunt past the pond, she noticed one baby duckling suddenly appeared, all alone, in the water. It paddled quickly toward the Mama duck. While watching this interaction and assuming Mama Mallard would take the duckling under her wing, Ann Marie was horrified to see the Mama duck start hitting the duckling and pushing it away.

The duckling swam to the edge of the water and once on land, ran right over to Ann Marie’s neighbor, Jeff, who was also near the pond that morning. Jeff scooped up the scared duckling, then turned it over to his wife, Melanie, who has prior experience with duck rescues at this very same venue. They put that feathered baby into a cat carrier and called a fowl rescuer, then decided to just take it a nature rescue center so it could be taken care of right away. The story is sad, but luckily has a good ending, as once again, humans helped out a fine-feathered friend.

A kindred soul is good to know.

People who love animals seem to gravitate toward one another. Like Elaine, or the woman I met at the grocery store around the holidays, who glanced at the stacks of cellophane packages of human peanuts in my shopping cart and tapped me on the shoulder and asked “so do you feed the squirrels too?” We both laughed and then discussed what we’d substituted for treats when Meijer dropped the ball and quit having peanuts in the store for a while. Her Plan “B” goodies were better than my Plan “B” goodies, so it tarnished my “Peanut Lady” crown just a tad.

Then there is the pair of women walkers at Council Point Park who bring a bottle of cocktail peanuts to the perimeter path every day they walk. The first time they were shaking the peanuts onto the asphalt, fellow walker Arnie quipped to the squirrels: “naked peanuts – you guys don’t even have to crack the shell – you’re spoiled!”

Yes we spoil them silly – who can resist those big brown eyes, pleading face and tail swishing wildly?

Recently these goodies have shown up on the perimeter path.

Last week I got to my favorite nature nook and strained my eyes to see what was up ahead on the pathway. So, what have we here?

As I got closer, I smiled to myself at the “droppings” … a new walker at the Park apparently aimed to feed the birds and not exclude any size birds in the process. There were neat piles of birdseed staggered all along the first part of the pathway. There were tiny millet seeds to sunflower seeds (which of course the squirrels would lap up once they saw them).

But, as I walked along the perimeter path, finally the piles of birdseed ceased and the critters had been gifted with a scattering of shelled peanuts with corncobs laying in the middle of each pile There were many such offerings along the perimeter path; these weren’t the only ones I’ve shown below. “Wow, no one will be begging from me today” I thought.

However, one squirrel who was enjoying his feast, heard my footsteps, then swiveled his head toward me while chomping on a corncob. “Aha, an acknowledgement from the peanut gallery” I told him, then added “I guess you won’t be needing any peanuts from Linda today.” It was more of a statement then a question. But wait … was I imagining that his eyes slid over to my Ziploc bag of peanuts, with such a grand feast laid out before his paws and which feast he had all to himself?

I tested the waters anyway and laid down some peanuts. That squirrel immediately removed himself from the corn and nuts pile and hustled over for some peanuts in the shell. I guess peanuts rule.

“Just when I thought I had you squirrels all figured out – what do I know?” I remarked wryly as I walked away.

Up ahead, I noticed some benefactor felt badly they had no critter treats to add to the breakfast menu, so they had scattered their Doritos onto the path.

I recalled the kindly older gentleman I wrote about earlier this year, who scattered the contents of a bag of tortilla chips on the ground for the squirrels because “I ran out of peanuts and didn’t want them to be disappointed and do without.”

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

My last tale about kindred souls is from a few weeks ago at Elizabeth Park. I was taking photos of the canal where the water still encroached onto the pathway and grounds. While standing there, a guy named Matt came over and asked me what type of ducks were in the canal. Admittedly, those large ducks, i.e. the snowy-white Pekin and Hybrid Mallard with its multicolored plumage, looked a bit out of place next to the smaller Mallards you see everywhere.

Matt and I chatted about the local parks while his daughter, Shelby, was wading in the canal. Part of the shallow water was actual grass where the canal water spilled over – you may recall I did a post on the massive flooding at Elizabeth Park recently. You can see the trees in the background – they are supposed to be on the grounds, not in the middle of the water!

The big ducks, unfazed by her presence, paddled lazily alongside her. Matt told me earlier they gave the Pekin duck some M&M cookies and quickly added “with the M&Ms removed of course!” I smiled and said “of course” then added that I had fed my favorite squirrel, Parker, a small bag of peanut M&Ms and he ate every one by himself. Matt said “I have a few more cookies – would you like to feed this duck?” I thanked him and declined, but said “I’d love to take you or Shelby’s photo feeding the duck if I could.” So, Shelby came over to watch as Matt crumbled up a couple of cookies.

The cookies piqued the Pekin duck’s interest. It was no slouch and waddled right over, pushing ahead of the Mallard Hybrid. Matt said that happened last time too and the Pekin was much more assertive. He spread the crumbled cookies into his palm and the Pekin duck gobbled up the treats and I had my photo op, which was definitely a win-win for both of us.

After enjoying those cookies, the Pekin duck wandered over to the water to wash ‘em down. Um, I think milk would have been a better option, but not if you’re a duck I guess.

Hummingbirds are not reliable “outside pets” – just sayin’.

My efforts here at the house to make Homer the Hummer my new outside pet are failing miserably. Interacting with the peanut pals and keeping them happy is much easier (and more enjoyable). I have two small hummingbird feeders and the nectar level never seems to go down. My last hummingbird sighting was two weeks ago – maybe over the long weekend I’ll pop outside more to check for visitors … oh wait, it will be 90F (32C) with a “real feel” of 100F (37C), if not higher, so maybe I’ll walk in the cool morning and come inside and stay put. Tuesday I arrived home from walking and found a hummer feeder full of ants. The army of ants didn’t gain access on top as there is an ant moat; nope, they were clustered inside the covered dish where at least 100 tiny black ants, who were likely lured to sip sweet nectar, now were floating in it – Eww. Pretty amazing that they scaled that six-foot shepherd’s hook for that prize. The feeder lid was sticky and when I pried it off, nectar slopped down my arm and drenched my watch. Well that wasn’t the scenario I had hoped for after seeing one tiny hummingbird sipping on a pink flower of a weed which prompted me to say “ooh – I’ll get a hummingbird feeder to keep this little beauty around!”

How about a quote for the road … whether you’re staying put this long holiday weekend, or on the move … just stay safe, okay?

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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33 Responses to Excuse me … I’ll just be bold and ask: “did you bring me treats?”

  1. We had a white duck just like the one in your post at the harbour at Titchfield Haven. I had watched him for several years but he did not return this spring when the other duck started arriving in the harbour. I guess he has died funny how one misses seeing a particular creature. Your post made me recall this bright white duck with a yellow bill. 🙂🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      The Pekin ducks are very beautiful and friendly Andy. I will bet if you took him something to eat, you could have had him waddling over to see you each time you went to Titchfield Haven. I wonder if your Pekin lost its life in those back-to-back rainstorms/floods? There is a couple who feeds the ducks every afternoon and I should have mentioned that – it is at this Park. They have a van and a bucket of corn which they roll down a ramp – they let the Pekins walk up the ramp to eat right out of the bucket and are petting them on the head and neck, like you would a dog or cat. Then they take the heavy bucket down the ramp and it is distributed on the grass, the Pekins brush up against their legs for more pets while they are eating it. I was watching this – very heartwarming. This Pekin wanted more cookies – the guy was bending down and when he got upright, the duck kept looking up at him like “don’t stop!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bekitschig says:

    I’ve just seen this squirrel feeding test on YouTube last week. Apparently, they go for the walnuts over everything else! Might need some more testing …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Jeanine – I can’t find whole walnuts around here anymore. I am going to have to look at a produce market as the grocery stores only have the shelled walnuts, which I got a couple of times as a treat for them, but they were expensive and the others would be better as they can take them away to their nests for later The squirrels are always ready for more testing when it comes to treats! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. The first story was sad, the pictures are in inventive and cool, and I love the last, when she fed the Peking by hand…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed this post Ellie. I know – it was very sad what happened with this duckling – why did the female Mallard reject it like that? Good thing a human took it to a shelter. I went to get this post to show you about a man/woman who feed the ducks daily. I wrote a post about it, but when I just looked for/found the post, some of the pictures are missing. Maybe it is just for me, so I’m passing it along to you and will have to ask WordPress why this happened. https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/12/14/a-corny-love-story/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza says:

        No pictures came through except the first featured but I love it! Especially that they know them like the squirrels know you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes I love that too Ellie – they recognize the van as it pulls up and come running … er, waddling. It was a sight to see. I have to ask WP why this is happening. And go back to the media library as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I get ants when I have a hummingbird feeder out. Not sure if it matters to the hummers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I have that hummingbird feeder near a fire bush – about 9 inches above it. That was the first time, so cleaned it up, filled it and put it out again, happened again. I can’t trim the bush down as it will look odd, so have gotten another shepherd’s hook to put out for it. The bush is not touching the feeder … I give up sometimes with the bugs. I had to get moth traps as the big bags of peanuts had no moths inside, but they must have had larvae on the bags – now I have little moths. So had to get moth traps – ordered a dozen, put out six. No moths trapped in them. No instructions on it, but someone in the comments said “don’t put out too many as the moths will get confused.” (Confused moths.) I’m so done with bugs. There were so many ants in the nectar you couldn’t see through to the other side. I remember what you told me about little activity and you eventually just gave it up. I’ll keep trying but this was pretty frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was frustrating for me with very few hummers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I remember you said that to me – thinking I wish you said it before I invested in the hummingbird feeders. I got four, because I was concerned I would skimp on washing the two of them out properly. I’d either be rushed or have to take them down to clean them and they would come looking – no feeder. So I swap them that way but yes, not seeing him day in/day out is frustrating.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sandra J says:

    That is such a good quote. I just love that people spend their money on food for the wild animals. It is good to see. I am sure they do around here also, I just have never seen anyone feeding them. I love the kindness of people to animals. Great post Linda. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie says:

    Ha! You and your fellow treat-givers spoil your feathered and furry friends. What would they do without you? Bill used Doritos too to tempt squirrels one time we had our grandsons at a nearby park. They came right up and ate them out of his fingers. I love the Gandhi quote!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, we all feel sorry for the feathered and furry friends and each of us, not knowing others are treating them, don’t realize that they are better fed then we think … the critters love it and sure aren’t going to tell! I remember you saying that about the squirrels eating from Bill’s fingers. I have been feeding the squirrels peanuts from my fingers, just recently though. When I did the post about fellow walker Mike who always fed them from his fingers and he chastised me for saying “I’d like to keep my fingers thank you” I decided to try. But I’m using the longest peanuts and if they’re skittish in the least, I toss the peanuts out instead. I love that Gandhi quote too. I originally was going to make Monday’s and today’s post just one post but the Elaine story was so long I had to split ’em up.

      Like

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………………I just love Mahatma Gandhi’s quote about our American animals and how we are doing a great job taking care of them!………………………….and to see the white Pekin duck eating out of Matt’s hand …………………….cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I like that quote too Ann Marie. Originally, I was going to incorporate this post into Monday’s post, but my Elaine story was so long that I knew it would be way too long of a post so split them up and found a new quote for Monday and used this quote here. I like his thinking too. Those white Pekin ducks are so beautiful and this was so fun to see. Would you feed them from your hand?
      I told Matt and Shelby about Elaine and those abandoned ducklings. I always look in that cove that is near the biggest bridge because the Pekins and Mallard Hybrids hang out there.

      Like

  8. Joni says:

    I’m wondering what could have happened or how common it it to make the mother duck abandon her chick? Hope it’s a rare occurrence….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I hope it is a rare occurrence too Joni – what an awful story. I almost didn’t include it in the post which was about “good things” but I wanted to show the nice couple that helped out that duckling by driving a long way to the nature preserve and also mention that the duckling swam out of the pond and right over to the guy. I thought that was pretty nice so I just went with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pam Lazos says:

    Hope you had a fine 4th of July. I know the wildlife were happy to see you. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes they were Pam and we have had some horrid heat so I’ve felt badly for all of them. This morning the Creek was once again covered in algae bloom and that surprises me as we have had torrential rain three days in a row and we have it right now (thankfully to break the heat). I watched squirrels laying on their stomachs on the grass listless with their tails streaming out behind them. They can’t drink that water and there is no other water source at the Park. The birds likewise looked bedraggled with their wings – they were hanging down. It didn’t look right. There is no way to get water on site, so how to you provide water to everyone? Hopefully today’s torrential rain helped churn up the bloom.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        Wait, what’s wrong with the water, Linda?

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Pam – Our weather has been so hot, that usually a collection of green crud, which they identify as algae bloom, collects on the surface of the water. I searched for an old blog post as I knew I captured some of this green surface slime in the past. It is just as bad at other parks which have marshy areas and happens mostly in July and August, the hottest months. It is not as bad in fast-moving water, like the Detroit River. I am surprised that the heavy rainfall did not dissipate the algae bloom. It is harmful to wildlife but the Creek in Council Point Park is small and not fast-moving water and it is always a mess. Toward the end of this post below, you can see how the Creek looked after a particularly hot spell last September. I am going to look at it this morning and see if the heavy rainfall we had once again yesterday stirred things up.
        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2019/09/12/the-wasps-are-giddy/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        That’s from too much agricultural runoff, Linda. Nitrates abound!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Do you mean from the Creek banks Pam? The Creek sits below the walking path which is nice – we never experience any flooding on the pathway. I searched for the article from many years ago. I recall reading about it in the local paper. But unfortunately I couldn’t find it – many homeowners who lived on the water came outside to find many mallards dead. Even years ago, they said the water was warming at an alarming rate and causing algae to form and the scummy mess on the water prohibited waterfowl from eating underwater plants or ingesting water, so they finally gave in to hunger and thirst and they all got botulism and died. It looked much better today and between yesterday’s rain and today’s high winds, it stirred the slime up a little bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        Wow 😳 that’s terrible. What’s causing the increased nutrients in the river? Do people over fertilize their lawns?

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – it was much worse in that photo in the blog post than this year. There are homes across the Creek on the other side – there is nothing on the other side of the Creek where you see the green slime. Just bushes and a small company, but it sets back quite a bit. I wish I could find the story about the algae bloom and waterfowl botulism. It happened during a heat wave about 10 years ago. I took pictures Saturday and will use them in a post later in this week, likely Friday.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – we’re having another heat wave later this week, but then a stormy week after that so that will keep the green gook at bay. It sure is sad. I worry about the birds and squirrels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        And all the critters, actually. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

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