Rescue of Kryakushi. How a fisherman helped a mallard

One day I was going to go fishing in the lake, famous for the fact that waterfowl always stop there for the night. The lake encountered a loud hum. But as soon as the sun appeared behind the ramparts of the forest to the east, the first shots were heard. The spring hunting season has begun.

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I saw many ducks fall on the shore, and one of them fell on the coastal reeds. Of course, none of the hunters wanted to climb in the cold water, even looking for a bird on the grass. And why, if there is plenty of play around. But I noticed the crash site and hurried there.

Quite tortured, he found the unlucky one. It was the most common mallard duck in our country. He hid among the thickets of the horn. It was clear that the bird was injured because one wing was in the water slightly away from the body. At the sight of a man in a boat, he resorted to the usual method of ducks in such situations: he began to hurry and dive in different directions. But he was quickly exhausted and no longer resisted.

I easily covered her with a net, picked her up on the boat and immediately went home with the prisoner. At home, he carefully examined the bird – it had two wounds at the base of the wing: beads were stuck inside them. I removed them and smeared the wounds with bactericidal ointment. However, I understood: because of the damaged wing, the duck will not fly.

Twenty meters behind the fence of our area there is a pond that has been overgrown for a long time. I went there the next day and left the duck. I see. At first, the bird looked around unsure for a long time, then, as if accustomed to it, swam slowly along the shore, examining it carefully. Having swam in shallow water, he began to feed … There should be no problems with food for greens: ducks, after all, eat both animal food – insects, their larvae, crustaceans, mollusks and vegetables – duck, horn, pond, susak, sachlamara.

To reach the food, the bird dived vertically upside down, immersing its whole body in the water. only the tail came out. This happened many times every day. When several flocks of ducks flew over the lake, the captive raised her head and shouted loudly: “Quack, quack, quack, quack.” That’s how I called her: I was crying.

My pet’s daily loud calls did not go unanswered in the end. Early one morning, two birds were separated from a flock of ducks that had made several rounds over the lake and drowned. The duck is spotty, indistinguishable. Drake in his wedding dress looked gorgeous: a black head with a green tinge, described by a white collar, a chestnut goiter, a yellow beak. On the wings there are bright blue-violet mirrors, bordered by stripes.

As soon as the ducks were on the water, the dragon, after getting up, immediately went to Kryakush. However, the duck, his companion, screaming softly, blocked his way. She tried to bypass her side, but each time she stopped her boyfriend. Eventually, Drake, apparently tired of this collision, beheaded his fearless partner several times in the head. The duck made the duck, but remained in place.

After that, drake inflated his chest even more and rushed to Kryakush. When it was not more than a meter away, the dragon suddenly froze for a moment, then stepped aside, erupted like lightning and, as if crawling over the tops of the trees, disappeared around the turn. The duck ran after him. It is not known what scared him so much: whether the conversation of the boys approaching the lake to go fishing; or me, hiding behind a fence.

However, it is not in vain that popular wisdom says: “The holy place is never empty”. A few days later, Kryakushi acquired a new winged fan. Unlike the previous one, this drake was not afraid of anything and they swam together, fed and rested. It is true that two weeks later, this friend disappeared. But his visit was not without consequences: Kryakushka made a nest in a coastal position among impassable willow bushes. Clearly reproduce.

Less than a month later, seven tiny yellow bubbles appeared in the lake. They followed their mother in chains and in the cold and rain they hid under her wings. Very agile, they grew quickly and from the beginning of the fall of the leaves were already adult ducks and dragons. They flew more and more from place to place, circling over the lake.

Watching the young ducks, I could not help but think: the time for the birds to leave for winter is approaching and the former chicks will surely leave their mother, but how will she withstand this inevitable separation?

And this moment has arrived… In the morning, cold, dark morning, a flock of mallards circled over the lake with piercing screams. Seven young ducks, after a little hesitation, came out into the air and, after making a few farewell rounds, joined the herd. The natural instinct to leave for the winter proved to be stronger than the attachment to the native lake and the mother. Kryakousa had no choice but to chase them away with desperate cries.

After the chicks left, Kryakusha behaved very anxiously: she ran around the lake, convulsively unsuccessfully trying to take off. And for a long time he could not calm down.

… When it got noticeably colder, ice wheels appeared near the shores of the lake and fluffy snowflakes swirled in the air, inevitably the question arose: what to do with Kryakusha? I too, reluctantly, decided that, perhaps, the only more or less acceptable way out was to give the duck to the zoo. Which I finally did.

From now on, when I visit the zoo, I always come to a pond where ducks swim and, looking at a flock of mallards, I involuntarily think that among them is my Cryakousa …

The material was published in the newspaper “Saint Petersburg Vedomosti” No. 93 (7176) on May 26, 2022 with the title “Saving the mallard”.

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