~:: How We Captured a Duck ::~

Back in the saddle (not literally). Slept through a million odd dreams, hours’ and hours’ worth. Woke up feeling more like myself. Dressed for the pasture. Greeted the dogs. Checked my mail. Put my phone in my pocket and my hat on, shooed the dogs out the door and closed it firmly behind me.

Then realized that I did not have my keys.

G was gone, babysitting while Cam took Lorri to the airport for a very early flight. So I looked for the Hidden Key. The Hidden Key has been hidden in the same place for about twenty years. I hadn’t realized till that moment: the same place is now deep under the new family room. Good thing it was a beautiful spring morning.

But that is not the promised story. Here it is: this is before I left for SF. It was, in fact, Sunday last. G was sitting by the fire, reading, when he heard a strange little scrabbling sound coming from the stovepipe cleanup door. (Have I mentioned that we heat the house with a natural gas free-standing stove? We do. And the cleanout door is a tiny door at the base of the back of the chimney. And the chimney is in the new room.)

“Hmmmm,” he said to himself. “It sounds like something’s in there.” It was a reasonable conclusion, considering that a starling had fallen down that chimney once years ago. I, myself, would have been scared it might be a rat (in spite of the fact that there is no precedent for that whatsoever).  But he, having a healthier imagination, went in and opened that tiny door just a wee bit for a look-see.


The first thing he saw was this eye.  This bright, round, worried duck eye.


So he closed the door and yelled for me.  He found a big, nice bucket for transporting a hysterical duck, and we positioned ourselves.


But G got in the way so I couldn’t shoot him actually putting his gloved mits around the duck and drawing him/her out of that chimney.  She/he was flapping a little bit, so into the bucket she/he went – and we took her outside.  I’ve decided on “her.”  She had smacked her bill against the rough stones on the way down, but her wings seemed fine.


The dogs were not aware of all this and were busily saying vile things to people taking a peaceful Sunday stroll down the street, so we were safe in the back.


And here is our captive.  What an odd idea, really.  I mean, I can imagine a starling sitting at the top of a chimney and, have been overcome by smoke, toppling into the hole.  But a duck?  When there’s that whole river in the back yard?  Which only goes to show you that people with too much imagination and adventure in their souls can wind up in difficult places.


When that happens, they can only hope their captors are friendly and gentle and kind and will reinsert them into a more pleasant element.


And the only loss?  Maybe a tail feather or two.

The last picture, you will have to imagine.  That beautiful little wood duck, once Guy had dropped her over the fence into the bracken, was down the bank and into the water in a flash, and then flying straight up river, a foot above the water – wings whipping up a fountain of shining drops.  Soon out of sight.

All’s well that ends well.

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25 Responses to ~:: How We Captured a Duck ::~

  1. Ginna says:

    Too true all’s well that ends well. Good job saving and restarting that pretty little thing. And saving yourselves from a stinky chimney. Cute.

  2. Chazi says:

    Sweet, sweet little duck–I’m so glad she’s ok!

  3. Guy Randle says:

    She wasn’t wanting to come out when she figured out I was trying to grab her—kept trying to go back up the chimney, but would scrabble back down again. I finally had to be rougher than I wanted to be just to grab onto her and get her out. That’s why I stuck her in the bucket instead of just holding on as we made our way to to back door.
    She was marked differently than the usual ducks we have out back—Charlotte says she’s a wood duck .

  4. Donna says:

    We came home one day to a living room in shambles, a couch in tatters and moved clear across the room and a very tired dog.
    We locked all of the domestic critters in a different room and began the investigation. Located the tiny scratching noise under the couch. Turned it up and found a completely terrified, but otherwise unharmed little red squirrel that had also fallen down the chimney. Got a towel, threw it over her and held her long enough to settle her heart beat just a little. Took her out into the back yard and put the towel down, lifted the edge, stood back and watched her shake herself, look back and then run for the trees. Up she went.
    Happy ending.
    Well, not for the couch.

    • webmaster says:

      Wow. We got a bat once – came right in the bedroom window. I didn’t know till G through the covers over my head and turned on the lights. We thought we’d chased it out, but the next morning, when he pulled his towel off the bathroom door, it fell to the floor with a clunk. The bat was roosting on it. We got it in a jar – it was tiny. Such a big presence for such a small creature. We had another duck blunder into the yard – was it last summer? And it ran afoul (no pun intended) of the dogs. I had to nearly beat them off. We have chain link at the end of the yard where the river is – to keep babies out of a very dangerous flow, but preserve our view of it. The little duck kept sticking her head and neck through the openings, straining as though she believed her body could follow, but really leaving it for the dogs to go after. I picked her up – carried her with her neck still outstretched as though she were flying (this duck was good at denying reality) and finally let her go into the air above the water. My heart was racing, and I had hated my dogs for that little time. it made me sad, and I wanted Christ to come and make everything lie down together. I have enough to worry about without adding foolish ducks.

      • Donna says:

        Go to the library and read the cute book Duckat…about a duck who believes he is a cat and the little girl who does her best to help him see the reality of the situation….cute! 5 minute read.

        I love that line…I wanted Christ to come and make everything lie down together….

        My bat event was at an over night with a bunch of older 4H leaders. Bat got in the cabin..they all screamed and dived under the covers. Stevie and I got the outside light on and opened the doors…out he went. They are tiny!

  5. Rachel says:

    No WAY! A duck?? A DUCK??? How in the world?

    There is no way in you know what that I would have opened that door…… Guy is mighty brave. I’d have been hitching up my skirts and running to the next county!

    • webmaster says:

      Me, too. But I think maybe feathers sound different than claws. It was such a beautiful, gentle little duck. glad the dogs weren’t in – poor thing kept trying to fly back up the chimney as it was. The thought of that, a thing used to being able to lift itself effortlessly into the air finding out that its power and grace are all negated in that environment. It’s a horrible thought.

  6. Dawn says:

    That last picture, that I had to imagine, is my favorite. : ) I’m glad that the duck was okay. You and your husband rescued her! What a sweet story.

    • webmaster says:

      It was beautiful – those flashing wings and the water just arching in the sun. I was so relieved to see her fly.

  7. Matt says:

    How very like life. How many times have I found myself at the bottom of the metaphorical chimney thinking, “well, THAT wasn’t a very good idea.” Always glad to have someone rescue me in those learning moments, as I’m sure this duck was glad to have you two.

  8. webmaster says:

    The thing is, Matt – that never stops. I remember once, walking home – nine long blocks – from BYU and thinking, “Well, I really hated that experience. But I guess it’s just a lesson I’ve got to learn from.” Then stopping and wondering – when – when-when do you get to stop learning lessons and just live your life? When do these hard things stop happening? Then I realized that Christ had them right up until the moment he died. And the words didn’t echo in my head exactly, but the feeling was – “Are you better than he?” I’m glad I realized it then, or I’d have spent the rest of my life sitting at the bottom of chimneys, feeling like a total failure.

    Thank heaven for the rescuers.

  9. Murphy Randle says:

    Le poor duck! I’m so glad that she was safe and flew away without harm or accident :).

  10. A story with a happy ending… my favorite kind! My sister has had the starling episode more than once but a duck is much more romantic. I’ve been needing to come visit but as I’ve explained before, visiting you takes more than a few minutes. I like to read it all and think… You make me think… and laugh. So, now I’m going to read the back entries that I’ve missed. I have a nice cup of coffee and a couple of squares of that delicious (healthy choice) Ghiradelli dark chocolate. Ready.


    • webmaster says:

      Okay – I never answered these. I went and commented on you instead. Dark chocolate. I wish it weren’t so late in the day right now –

  11. Sharlyn says:

    Ask my Dad sometime about the baby ducks that he rescued, great story and better when he tells it :)

  12. Oh, we’ve had this happen before too! Well, not “we” exactly, and not at our house. But the children’s grandparents, a mile down the road from us, had a duck in their fireplace, on the smoke shelf. Smoked duck was not on the menu, so Grandpa gently removed her, also with gloved hands, and set her free at the lake – which would be a few feet away from their home. So, ducks the world over share this chimney curiosity trait.

    • webmaster says:

      I would think there’d be any number of things more worthy of curiosity that sooty brick hot-boxes. Though I’ve seen a movie or two that might qualify in the same category.

  13. Jenni says:

    That is a nice story, I love happy endings :-)

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