Family gets daily visits from lonely duck for naps and duck chow

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

When we moved from the city to the suburbs, we were unprepared for the beauty of nature that would walk right up to our front porch. From red foxes and deer to ducks and wild turkeys, we never know what we're going to find when we look out the kitchen window.

Our favorite uninvited guest was a waterfowl we named Quacky Ducky. He showed up unexpectedly one hot summer day and made himself at home in our front yard.

We set up a cardboard box with a blanket scrap for comfort and a bowl of water for hydration, and Quacky Ducky would stop by every day for a drink of cool, clean water and a nap in the shade. We even went to a store on the main thoroughfare that specialized in food for wild birds and bought a bag of duck chow to make sure our new friend was well-fed.

Quacky Ducky made the way to our yard through all kinds of weather. There wasn't a rainstorm or a hurricane that could prevent the bird from joining us for his daily nosh and nap.

As summer turned to fall and then to winter, our feathered friend found the way over ice and snow to visit us. We kept that cardboard box in a safe corner of the porch and hoped our bird pal knew there was no time limit to staying with us... but our visits always ended when naptime was over.

The duck was always alone with no friends, if ducks have friends, and no mate. He would waddle about the yard and then hop onto the porch where we set out his cardboard box. We never saw where he went during the day, but every evening at dusk he would reappear and quack to get our attention. My mother would open the door and we would gather on the porch for a quick visit before Quacky's nap.

"Do you think he's lonely?" I asked my mother one evening.

"Birds don't get lonely," she replied. "They're not like us."

But I wasn't so sure. Quacky always looked so sad to me, and I wondered if he was waiting for something or someone that never came.

I hope my family was able to fill some of his loneliness or need for friendship during the year he made his daily visits to our house.

All we have remaining from our time with Quacky Ducky is an envelope of faded Polaroid instant photos and our memories, which are equally faded. My mother often talks about our visiting duck and wonders what happened to the gentle bird who didn't say goodbye.

"It's just not like him to miss dinner and naptime," she said. "Maybe he found another family who built him a bigger cardboard condo. I just hope Quacky Ducky is happy wherever he is."

Did you ever have an unexpected animal visitor to your home? Share your story in the comments below.

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