Remembering my little ducklings/junior patito

Dec 30, 2016
46
10
Australia
Parrots
8 little lovebirds
It's been nearly a week since my duck babies were murdered.

Princess duckling was friendly from the moment I met her. She arrived 10:30 at night. She knocked on someone's door and went inside to look for and ask for food. The people of that house must have called WIRES (wildlife care organisation) because my partner got an alert that a duckling needs help. So he went and collected her at 10:30 at night. Halloween night 2021. Sometimes I wonder if I should have named her Cricket. Because her baby sounds resembled a cricket. She talked constantly all day long. We found out what to feed her and it helped her grow up into a beautiful big, but small girl. Young adult. She was a teenager when she passed. During her first few days, weeks, until she got bigger, she spent most of the day on my partner's shoulder. Or on the carpet eating and drinking or bathing. When she bathed she would look up at my partner as if to say, excuse me it's time for me to clean my feathers and drop all the fluff and water on you. Sometimes he didn't know as he would be on his laptop, and she would try to jump up to his shoulder and would make it to his leg. If I noticed I would tell him and he would lean over and pick her up. She didn't like being held but was content once she was put on his shoulder. Sometimes she was hungry after napping on his shoulder but didn't know how to express it. So she would preen herself and that's when she would be set down on the carpet to eat and drink. She would run around really quickly for no reason and randomly. I called her road runner when she did that out of nowhere. Her sounds slowly turned into "chh chh chh" sounds, she was the quieter bird, as her sounds were soft. When she first came she had to sleep in a container which was secured with a blanket. Only when she and Enano grew up we got a playpen for them to sleep in and stay in if they couldn't be supervised. A medium sized one that fit perfectly in the lounge and was safe for them indoors. Not outdoors as we learned in a horrific way last week. We were heading into summer and their containers would get too umid for them as they grew bigger. Sometimes Princess would be in her container when I had to clean up the other birds and at first she would cricket chatter then go quiet. Sometimes I would go near her container and make a cricket sound and she would reply and I would say oh sorry, you were probably having a nap, continue your nap and I'll get you out soon when I'm done with the other birds.

Enano came approximately two weeks later on a sunday. We were watching the Shang Chi Marvel movie on tv with Princess. We didn't end up finishing that movie until the following weekend. My partner got a notification about another baby duckling needing care. At first I actually said maybe it's not best because Princess needs attention and care. I didn't want her to be neglected. But he said it's ok she will benefit from a friend (Mr Patito lived in the garage at this point still). I was still worried. Enano came that afternoon. She was a bit noisier with her baby sounds. Similar to other baby ducklings. Princess was unique with her cricket sounding baby sound. Enano was more wild despite probably only being a week or so old. We were amazed she was still alive because she was kept in a box with grass for 6 days apparently until the people that found her contacted WIRES and my partner got her. She was afraid of us, lkely due to the trauma, however, if we walked away from her she would come running and screaming. Her sounds were more "peep peep peep peep peep peep peep". Seven times. Loudly. It was adorable. I remember they slept in seperate containers until they were around the same height. We didn't want princess to accidently squash her while sleeping. I remember Enano didn't like being in her container a lot and would jump out regularly. Sneaky little girl. I remember sitting near her and then needing to use the bathroom and when I disappeared she was shouting for me. As I walked away my partner would say becareful she's following you. At first We didn't introduce princess and enano to each other. Princess would remain on my partner's shoulder when it was time for Enano to eat. But enano didn't seem to know how to eat and would just keep having baths so we started setting princess down and enano kept chasing her. When princess was a baby she would make an upset noise if we disappeared for a second or for a fee minutes after putting her to bed. She started making that sound when enano kept chasing her. She probably thought it was her mummy. Eventually, somehow, enano just copied what princess did. Sometimes enano would be having a bath in her teeny tiny body and princes would eat and then just drink from the water bowl that enano was using to bathe.

They grew up so quickly, right before my eyes. I didn't know how to look after them and my partner mostly did everything at first until I learned. I was mostly the supervisor at first if he had to go do things elsewhere but he always ensured they had food and water. When my partner wasn't around Princess would at first try to jump to my shoulders but I told her no sweetie, my hair is too curly and you might get tangled, you can stay on my leg. But she decided my slippers were better and decided to take naps there instead. When she grew up, her and enano still loved both our pairs of slippers. they nibbled them, pooped on them. Princess would rub herself on them too. Enano seemed to young to understand what was happening. Princess seemed to get hormonal after three months of age. She would fly around everywhere then go to the top of the couch and and lay down and spread her body and kind of bob her head slowly. I never really understood what she was doing. Now, I think she might have been trying ot attract a mate but I'm not sure. Enano would just preen Princess's feathers when she did this gesture.

Enano started quacking when she grew up. But her quacks sounded more like "waaaaa". Like a long version of a train honk. She made other sounds too. I would play tips with her in the morning. I always swept their play area in the lounge room each morning before they came out and they wanted to be let out so I would distract them. I would rub Princess a bit and then touch enano and move my hand then she would come and peck me for touching her, and then we would do it again. I called it the tips game. Like "tag, you're it". I miss her sounds. I miss Princess's sounds. I miss them terribly. The house isn't the same without them.
 
OP
F
Dec 30, 2016
46
10
Australia
Parrots
8 little lovebirds
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I went over the character limit so I've continued this as a reply, to talk about Mr Patito as well.

I cant remember the exact date that Mr Patito came. But it was perhaps a few weeks or months before the two ducklings arrived. My partner received the notification about him sometime in the evening. Probably about 8pm. I was waiting for dinner to be delivered as I had ordered take away, and he was waiting for the person who had Mr Patito to be brought to us. Everything arrived at the same time. He was the first duck ever to be with us. He was in the garage as my partner rehabilitates birds there. Mostly pigeons though. Mr Patito had an injury on his neck from what I was told but he got better. My partner would feed him larger duck pellets and also some berries in water and corn I think. I did not interact much with Mr Patito at first until recently. He couldn't fly for awhile when he first came so he was allowed to roam free in the backyard and nothing ever happened to him. My partner once found him on the road though and think that's when he purchased a playpen for him. It's a playpen meant for dogs, from Kmart, but it was suitable and big enough for Mr Patito to be outside. Nothing ever happened to him. I thought the yard was safe. It's a small yard. Not too big. If my partner worked he would put Mr Patito outside in the morning and. I would top of his food or water during the day. One evening when I was cleaning the indoor birds, I heard a loud crash in the garage. I assumed it was one of the pigeon cages. I was shocked to find Mr Patito in his crate on the floor. He likely tried to jump too much and it fell. I sorted him out and gave him food and water and let him be as it was bedtime anyway. I told my partner the next day that he can sleep in the house from now on and spend his days outside in his pen. We did just that. Nothing ever happened he was fine. Albeit he probably felt sore for a day or two. At least in the house I could top up his food and water if my partner went to work in the afternoon, as the garage was his thing and he set them up before he left, and I would only go there to turn off the light. I was already cleaning up the birds in the house each evening so he would fix the pigeons up with their food and water and blankets so that I would only need to turn off the light for them. Mr Patito seemed happy with this new arrangement, sleeping in the house and having fresh air outside every day. He was a bit slow as walking around and was easy to catch by my partner. I didn't handle him but I patted him a few times. He had a soft quacking sound that he made all day. He only quacked very loudly if he needed something like a food or water top up. I miss him a lot too. He would soft quack each night when I was blanketing the diamond doves. He liked to go to bed earlier than the other ducklings. The other two slept later until 8:30 pm, sometimes 9pm.


I named Princess. I'm not sure why I chose Princess. I guess because she felt like a special princess to me. My partner named Enano. He is from latin america and said that its a name for little things. And she was so so tiny when she came, half the size of our hands. He also named Mr Patito as well. I think it's spanish for little duck. I always referred to him as Mr Duck though.

I don't know what else to say. It's hard to remember these times with them, only to know that they are gone and I'll never see them again. I keep remembering my babies during these times and wish I could go back in time. I miss them too much and everyday is empty without them. Never in my life did I think that ducks would change my life. Before them, never in my life did I think that lovebirds would change my life. I refer to them as my babies too, especially the first original lovebirds that came into my life, whom had a hard life of their own but are thriving. My duckies should be thriving now too. I'll never see the crimson coloured eyes that Princess was supposed to develop as an adult. I feel so broken.

When I am ready, I would like to share videos of them. Videos of Princess sounding like a cricket, of them bathing. The sad part is that I don't have many photos of Mr Patito. And I only have one or two videos of him. Because at first he stayed in the garage and outside.

Please forgive me my babies for not protecting you. All I ever wanted was to protect you and keep you safe and allow you to grow up and have good lives.
 

PippTheBananaBirb

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Grief is hard, grief is uncomfortable, it's frustrating, it's depressing, but you have to go through grief in order to continue with life. Sometimes it takes days, sometimes months, or even years. Grief is even worse if guilt is involved. No bird will replace them, even if they look and sound the same, even if they have the same personality. Take your time, don't listen when people say, "Get over it." Grief is natural, it's how we mourn and express our feelings for a loved one that was lost. You'll make it worse if you move on before you're ready

I wish I could give you a hug right now, I can't even imagine the pain. They sound like they had amazing personalities, I'm so sorry you lost them.
 

Vampiric_Conure

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May 16, 2022
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**Many HUGE Hugs** Loss is hard and losing your beloved family is even harder. Thank you for sharing. They were loved and it shows in your writing :)
 
May 2, 2021
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I'm so sorry, they sound like they were absolutely amazing little guys. I sort of understand what you're going through, I lost a rescue baby robin, Gracie, to epilepsy, but I've never stopped blaming myself for it "What if I had stayed awake that night she died?", "What if I had fed her differently?". I promise you, it's NOT your fault. These things happen, and no, you never really get over it, but loss can teach us important lessons, and it can, ultimately make us stronger.

πŸ«‚
 

zERo

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Dec 9, 2021
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I read your other thread, such a terrible thing, grieving for them hurts but in time you'll start to feel better, maybe you'll look on your memories with them and smile.
I lost my little budgie Falkor last years May, I always think about what I could've done, it makes me sick, but I know she was happy while she was with me. I know your ducks were happy and you loved them so much!
 
OP
F
Dec 30, 2016
46
10
Australia
Parrots
8 little lovebirds
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Thank you for all the replies. It brings a bit of comfort to me. I don't really have anyone else to talk to. I never made proper friends when I moved from my home state to this smaller town. It's hard in smaller towns and after a few years, birds brought me joy. I can't stand when people say to forget it or get over it. Thank you pippthebananabirb for saying not to listen when people say that because I won't listen to them. People who say that do not understand the pain. I never knew ducks could be like this. Full of personality and feelings.

My princess became a bit territorial and she would make this sound which I called "bossy boot" sound. She would raise her head high and kind of go "chew chew chew" and would open her beak more when she did it. A lot of the time because the sound required her to open her beak more she would sneeze, so I would say, ok no bossy boot sound, no bossy boot sound let's be happy and eat our food and drink our water and have fun and not be bossy boots. She would make the bossy boot sound when she was happy nibbling a slipper or something else and maybe enano would come over to copy her or perhaps I would just annoy her because I loved her so much. I will never know what caused her to sneeze a lot the house. The other two didn't, only her. My sweet babies. And Princess would also make a growl face, but not actually growl. Just the face and bare her beak out and put her neck out, as if to say hey i'm the boss and you listen to me. Or hey you're too close to me or too close to my territory, move away more. But if I moved away more she would decide to jump on my head sometimes. I'll miss her flying around and landing on my hair. Enano learned to make her own growl face too, since Princess taught her. She loved to preen Princess. I would always have to tell enano, sweetie why don't you preen your own feathers, princess is trying to nap. And she would always look at the ceiling. She would sometimes think she saw a fly there and keep looking at it. One day there was a small moth on the door and she just randomly marched ever so fiercely and grabbed it. It was so sudden. I wasn't too happy about that as I preferred them to eat the food we gave them instead of random things.

Thank you Vampiric_conure and stormypica. I am also sorry you lost your rescue robin too. I try hard not to torture myself but sometimes I can't help but think if the chain of events were different for only a few minutes that they would still be here.

I keep looking up ducklings on the internet. I check ones for sale and I just check news about ducklings being rescued. There aren't many for sale in the state I live and most are older or far away and are simply other species. My babies were wild species who needed help to survive and down here are not kept as pets. But due to them getting humanised and my partner being allowed to have rescued birds, it wouldn't have been an issue. I loved them so much. I guess I just want a bit of comfort in knowing that their friends around the world are being helped by good samaritans when I read the news. I don't know what to do with myself each day. The mornings and nights are hardest due to their feeding times. The day is hard too. We are nearing winter here and the days are shorter now. But for me, they have never felt longer. I constantly complain every summer about the long hot summer days. But right now these short winter days feel so much longer. My babies helped me through the summer. They made it bearable by watching them grow up and thrive. They were too young to go.

Thank you zero and I'm sorry for your loss of Falkor last year too. I've lost other birds in the past and it hurt a lot. But they weren't murdered. They passed in the safety of the house, some in our hands. I really did love them and I think my duckies were happy. I still feel like I failed them though.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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When you feel less sad, you could write a bit about how princess came into your life. That is a charming and touching story. She probably impressed those people whose door she knocked on with her personality and intent.

I take my birds out for walks because they meet people who can then realize that birds are friendly and loving companions. And your Princess helped those people to understand that birds have real personality. That is a particular gift.
 
OP
F
Dec 30, 2016
46
10
Australia
Parrots
8 little lovebirds
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Thank you HeatherG. How do you take your birds out for walks safely? Are their flight feathers trimmed? That sounds really nice to be able to do that. And I hope it does help people see birds in a brighter light, because many people do not see birds in the way that we see them.

I don't know a lot about how Princess got here apart from what I wrote. I do keep remembering stories about her though and I keep reminding myself to write about them here. I do want to put videos of them as well, when I'm ready as everything I write about them will make more sense if accompanied by videos. I'll have to ask my partner eventually but he doesn't want to talk about it too much as it still hurts. But i remember we were just watching tv and he asked if it would be alright if he got another duckling (the original first baby duckling had died the day before) as he had a notification from WIRES. And I said are you sure, I don't want another one to lose its life and he said yes. This was around 10:00 at night. So he went and got princess from those people. We live in a regional area, however are closer to town so kind of urban/suburban. Princess was found maybe a 7 minute drive away, in the next suburb. Houses there are much closer to lakes, ponds, the wilderness etc. Apparently she did knock on the door with her beak (she was probably just nibbling for food loudly, poor baby girl) and when the people opened the door she just marched inside looking for food and most likely making her cricket baby sounds. My precious baby. I'm guessing that's when those people got a container and put her in it with a blanket and called WIRES whom notified my partner who went to get her after asking me. He arrived back home about 10:30 at night and I could hear a constant cricket sound coming from the container. When I saw her I was surprised because she looked bigger than the other baby duckling. Might have just been her species. They look bigger as babies, but as adults, they are the smaller species. I was so worried that she wouldn't make it and I only remember my partner gave her a bit of corn and water and put her to bed. The next morning I told him to go to the locally owned pet store in the same suburb that she was found to ask them what to feed her. He took her along for the ride. She couldn't fly yet so it was safe. I bet she charmed all the shop workers and they recommended the correct product to feed her because it helped her, and eventually enano, grow up and thrive.

She loved being in the car. The opposite to me. I hate being in cars. I never learned how to drive, as I grew up in a large city with public transport everywhere. But sometimes I might do a bit too much grocery shopping and need my partner to pick me up so she joined him for the ride to pick me up. She would either sit on his leg or his shoulder while he was driving. I was constantly worrying, as I'm just that type of person, but she was very safe. She would look around with her big bright baby eyes. We were her parents so she couldn't be left at home alone. She would cry out for us. I miss my baby girl so much.

Princess was very unique. Because she helped the other two in her own unique way without realising it. And the funny thing is, yesterday I realised that it's possible that Princess was actually a boy. I keep checking google for anything on their species of duck. I don't know why I do it. And the hard part is that there is even less information about princess's species (grey teal duck). And on the wikipedia page of grey teal ducks, it says that adolescent males will do specific displays, namely head rolls and headshakes and now I realise that my Princess started doing these gestures when she was about three months old. I think I mentioned it in my post above somewhere. And I had read that wikipedia page before in the past but perhaps I forgot that it referred to males when it talked about the courtship displays. And at three months old she would have been considered an adolescent bird. She would also rub herself on either my partner's hand or his slippers in recent months. Or sometimes my hand but not as often. When I am ready, I will post a video of her doing the head rolls on the top of the couch. It all makes sense now. I never knew what she was doing when she did that. She would do some erratic flying first before settling onto the top of the couch to do these gestures. As always, I was actually worried something was wrong. But she was fine. Just reaching adolescence. I still refer to her as a her despite this possibility. And Enano would just preen Princess when she was doing those head rolls. I guess she didn't understand and she always liked to preen Princess.

I found a youtube video yesterday of an australian wood duck making calls too. A female one. And she was the same as Enano. Making the same little chattering sounds and loud "waaaa" sound that she did. Enano was so elegant when she walked. She always maintained her posture. But when she flew she wasn't as elegant, she was erratic because she would follow or be racing Princess. On the internet her species is sometimes referred to as a goose, even though she is a duck. Because of her long neck. My beautiful baby enano.

These babies changed my life. I never knew ducks could be like this. So precious.
 

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