Crip after the rain

Uploaded 20 May 2018 — 4 favorites
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© May Lattanzio
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

This is Crip, “my” Muscovy duck. The last member of a very large flock, that has dwindled steadily, until last October, an alligator took Splash in an explosive attack witnessed by a man who was building a bulkhead on the creek. Her mate, Uncle Caruncle who you will find here among my photos, disappeared just a few weeks before.

Some years ago Crip broke his leg and he swam tilted in the water, but he managed. Because of his injury, he could not mate. My neighbor and I bought a few females and let them go with the trio, but not being savvy about alligators, large snakes and alligator snapping turtles, disappeared in a few months.

Last winter was unusually cold and the creek is always drawn down to kill vegetation. He stayed on a bare platform where I could see him, but he didn’t come regularly to be fed, and I suspected when I would see him struggle up the bank, that he had rebroken that leg. It hurt my heart that I could not capture him or splint it; the nights so cold and wet.

I believe my suspicions were correct since he can use it more while swimming. The water rose, spring is full blown and now we are looking at summer. His leg appears to be working somewhat more and he has chosen a
new place to rest and roost that is directly across from my neighbor’s dock, under a tree and in back of some saplings. It is perfect protection on the bank in someone’s yard, and I can see him through the saplings.

I have fed his flock, who used to go back and forth so much I had the county put up Duck Crossing signs at both ends of the circle. Now I have Crip who doesn’t limp when he paddles anymore.

I was feeding him the other day after an all night electrical storm with pounding rain and took this shot by hanging over the dock and hoping for the best. I think of all the hundreds of photos of him I have, this is by far the best. There’s just something about it that is the essence of him.

He is getting old, and so am I. I admire his courage, his intelligence, his will to live, despite what must be so lonely an existence. He will come to me from Bear creek if he hears me. It takes some time, but even if it’s an hour, I wait.

He trusts me. And that sometimes overwhelms me because, well, it’s a really big deal to have a wild, domestic duck as a friend.

6 responses

  • David de London

    David de London gave props (20 May 2018):

    Fantastic color and detail, great narrative.

  • teresa B

    teresa B   gave props (21 May 2018):

    Your experience and relationship with the miscovy is very similiar to myn. also with a Muscovy. I would feed him every day and put straw and a box in the winter...which he didn t use. You get attached to them and yes worry about them in the worst of winter days and nights. You do what you can and can only hope that you made his life a little better, a little more bareable. Love that you shared that with us. Great photo.

  • David de London

    David de London said (24 May 2018):

    May...let us have more photos and stories on 'Crip' soon

  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (24 May 2018):

    great shot and story

  • May Lattanzio

    May Lattanzio said (27 May 2018):

    Have any of you used metal paper for your printing? I read where it gives a special luminosity to dark colors, and I am going to enlarge this. Your opinions, please.

    To the question of more photos. Crip has decided to move around to his hangout on Bear Creek to his place in the hedge, I hope. His disappearances always unnerve me. The water has been drawn down (it is 5/17/2018) because of the tropical storm we are expecting tonight and tomorrow, so I will check to see if he's across the street in a little while to feed him. He really hates those grass carp and doesn't like sharing his food with them. Bear Creek is really just around the point across the street or walking, around the corner and down one block. I don't want to go down to the little park that has replaced the fish camp, because if he sees me, he'll swim that wide stretch, and the alligator is often there.

  • Kathy Sumter-Haman

    Kathy Sumter-Haman gave props (28 May 2018):

    Beautiful capture.

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