Treasure Island

Aniruddha Pathak

(25.05.1941 / Godhra - Gujarat)

A date with ducks


Comes the ma comb duck crackling,
Her brood behind following—
All of them chicks seventeen,
Ah in a marvellous wetlands scene.

In fresh water swamps, hay I saw you breed,
To be together seems to be your creed,
Dispersing but briefly in wet season,
Marvel, how you enjoy swamps in burning hot sun!

I like, O Knob-billed duck, your common creed:
I have seen you in large flocks of hundred,
And there is no leader whoso to lead,
No pecking order, tail there is nor head.

I wish, ye birds a few things to us teach—
To us that stick to chairs like leech,
These leaders that can’t foster their own flock,
Proud, croak like frogs; crackle like rooster cock.

On swampy greens alone you feed,
Grazing, dabbling, be it water weeds,
Smaller fish, be they sundry seeds,
You with your young chicks, you in lead!

And I admire how happy life you lead,
Giving you girth, and yet you gain sans greed—
I’m yet to see but one of you lean—
I love your gloss— of blue and green.

Who says you’re an ugly duckling?
Ah beautiful as you are—white and black,
There is one thing perhaps you lack,
Bear me, the way you sing— coarse crackling.

With feathers black and body white,
And hints of some dark blue and green,
And neck speckled greyish black quite,
It’s your webbed claws that a peace prize should win.

You see, your claws are not so sharper made,
Nor your beak, aggression e’er show,
Your gloss of blue and green, no hint of red,
Hunting nor harming you e’er know.

As ma duckling you seem considerate,
You alone your eggs incubate,
And raise your chicks single-hand and alone,
Yea, all of seventeen or more you own.
_________________________________________ __________________
Comb duck, or knob-billed duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos) , an
unusual pan-tropical bird found in tropical wetlands of
sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and South Asia from
Pakistan to Laos and extreme South China.

For facts, courtesy: Bird Conservation Society- Gujarat (BCSG) .
____________________________________________ _________________
- Nature | 11.08.11 |

Submitted: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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