Dinner the duck

Categories:Country life

Greg's high school biology class was studying imprinting. That's where a hatchling latches on to the first thing it sees after breaking out of its shell, thinking that thing is its mother. To bring the lessons home to the students, each was given a duck to take care of and to observe the imprinting process occurring.

White duckI told Greg not to get too attached to the duck because we didn't have a good place to keep it or any other ducks for it to hang out with. To bring THAT lesson home, I named the duck Dinner—which we figured would be its eventual destiny.

Greg kept the duck in a large plastic storage box with holes punched in the lid. He would bring it in the house and let it walk around with him, which, by the way, was not such a good idea. Ducks apparently have no understanding of potty training. Or, at least, Dinner didn't seem to be able to grasp the concept of going outside.

But the imprinting seemed to work. We concluded that the duck had imprinted on my son's feet. All that walking around the house paid off at the biology class check-ins and in Greg's eventual grade.

Dinner grew to be a fine big duck and endured Greg's unsuccessful attempts to teach him to fly. Greg would hold the duck out, then toss it in the air. Dinner would duckfully flap his wings, but alas, all too soon dropped to earth. After a few attempts, Greg had to give it up as no use.

We were hoping Dinner could fly off and find some pals before his destiny caught up with him at Thanksgiving, but we think he enjoyed his food too much to gain lift off.

Dinner kept trying by himself, though. We had a pile of rocks left from digging a ditch from our water line. Dinner would climb to the top of the pile and flap his wings, but even with the additional height, it was a no-go. Dinner was grounded.

Then, we came home one day and Dinner was not flapping his wings on his pile of rock or in his nesting box. Dinner had met his destiny.