FREQUENTLY Dad would place some meat into either Donald or Daisy’s beak then withdraw it before they could grab it. I realized that Dad was in fact weaning them off him feeding them as it was quite obvious to me – and I expect to him – that they were now both big and ugly enough to fend for themselves.
However nature’s pecking order was not only organizing the weaning process, it was following a well established set of natural laws that I, a mere ignorant human being was not at all privy too. Dad was preparing for the brats (Donald especially) to be ousted from the neighbourhood.
In hindsight I understood the steps that were about to be taken, but at the time I didn’t have a clue. Dad had begun to take a swipe or two at Donald and Daisy over recent days which I put down to Dad’s sometimes cranky mood, for he did this type of thing to squeaky if he inadvertently got in his way.
Then it happened – One morning Donald was on the balcony floor, quacking and hoovering up the scraps as usual, when Dad suddenly became very angry. With a flurry he jumped down from the balcony railing and attacked Donald viciously, plucking feathers from Donald and spitting them out before taking another swipe.
Donald cringed submissively on the floor mewing like a baby chick, he seemed to be saying, ‘don’t hurt me Dad, I love you and want to stay with you,’ but it was too late, the laws of the pecking order were being enforced.
Dad had changed from the ‘parental’ instinct to the ‘protect your territory’ instinct. Donald’s Achilles Heel was that he was a male, therefore a threat to his domain. Dad’s aggressive attitude told Donald that he must leave the neighbourhood to find and claim his own domain, but the thought of leaving the hamburger stand and having to feed himself continually must have been daunting for him.
Although Donald is no longer there perched on the railing, as consolation, pictured right is the landscape that he sang to as he pretended that the trees were his devoted audience.
I never heard his song again either, for his beautiful voice had suddenly become silent on the wispy neighbourhood breezes.
He must have been relegated to places far away and out of earshot, probably up to the top of the range that runs north south, inland and to the west of our town.
I often like to think that maybe somewhere up there, in a town like Maleny or Montville, people are getting up of a morning to be greeted with this liltingly beautiful song echoing across the mountain valleys and ridges, maybe they are wondering what type of a bird could sing so magnificently.
We know who it is… Donald in his new Kingdom…
Dan’s Quote: “Could we see when and where we are to meet again…
____________We would be more tender when we bid our friends goodbye.”- Ouida