by Gene Benedict


November 15, 2017          

We first noticed them a month or so ago, those mallards of a different bent. Actually, I guess we experienced them. It was about dark, some time after the sun had left, as we walked the bridge to Dock Street behind Mike and Cindy’s Island Place.          

Mallards are not native to this coast. As a matter of fact, they didn’t even migrate through this area from their homes in the far north. They came in as chicks and eggs at the behest of Bill and Ray, both of whom had incubators to make sure those mallards would survive and thrive. And they did.

That was many years back and now neither Ray nor Bill live in Cedar Key. But those mallards do. They own the place, the streets, the restaurants, the parking lots, all of Cedar Key, from February till June or so, sometime after the mating season. And they live here year around.

About a year ago, give or take, a large white barnyard duck with an orange bill and orange feet showed up behind Mike and Cindy’s. This duck was huge, maybe twice the size of a mallard and weighing perhaps four times as much. Whether male or female, we knew this duck meant trouble.          

Shortly there after, mallard mating began as did hatching, mothering and brooding. And we wondered about that huge white barnyard duck that was still here and by now was accepted by the mallards as one of them.

Well, that huge white duck is still here happy as a lark, and at dawn and dusk, mainly behind the Island Place, you will notice those mammoth monstrous mutant mallards showing themselves near the water. You don’t see them in the day. Perhaps, as in all mutants, there is a flaw. Maybe their eyes don’t work well hurting in the daylight. Just as well.

I know that Rich and Cindy of Gulf Side stopped feeding the mallards years ago. I’m wondering if Mary on First Street has yet seen the behemoths and if she is wondering how she will sport a four-fold increase in their monthly feed allotment.          

And as a hunter, how I would feel with this huge mallard going over head knowing a number 6 or even a number 4 shot would not bring him down? And even if I fired an ought buck, perhaps soon to be renamed “ought duck”, and knocked one out of the sky, would I want to be in the path of that fallen monster as he dropped to the ground? Scary.          

Funny as this may sound, we were at Pensacola Beach not that many days ago about dark, and on the backside, we saw a lone, white, large barnyard duck accompanied by, yes, you guessed it, those mammoth, monstrous mutant mallards. Is this a conspiracy?

The loons are back, those large diving ducks from the far north that winter here, as are the smaller, white headed diving ducks seen mostly on the backside. And at low tide, if you drive slowly past the bridge leading to Walter’s Island just this side of number 4 bridge, you just might see the eight or so storks that have chosen to visit us for a while.          

Have a mammoth, monstrous weekend, and if you happen to go over the bridge to Dock Street about dark, look to your right. You just might see those mutant mallards. Till next time, look for me out there trying to find another kind of trouble in Cedar Key.

Copyright © by Gene Benedict 15  November 2017