I snapped this photo of one of the multitude of Muscovy Ducks that roam my community. It is not the most exciting animal to photograph, but I was able to get a decent picture for once. So I decided to share it. These ducks are in abundance in South Florida. Wherever there is water you will find them. I can remember as a child my father and grandfather taking me and my brothers to a little pond to feed the ducks. We took a few heels from loaves of bread that my grandmother had been saving, probably for that very occasion. I can still feel the anxiety that came from these bold animals surrounding me as I held up the first piece of bread that my grandfather tore off for me. I remember the the thrill that I felt as I threw out the bread and watched the ducks react, darting after them and then eagerly returning their attention to me, waiting for the next toss.
Throughout childhood the sight of ducks would always excite me. I loved watching and feeding them. But as I moved into adulthood, the excitement quickly faded. When I was twenty I moved out on my own and my first apartment was on a canal, where we had an overabundance of ducks and an elderly neighbor who treated them like her own children, feeding them constantly. The result was mobs of ducks waiting for me as I came home each day, and when they couldn’t be there they kindly left little “remembrances” that I often stepped in. My opinion of the Muscovy Duck quickly changed. Throughout the years I began to see these ducks as pests and nuisances. They take forever to cross the street. They do not share the healthy fear of humans that most birds do, because they are used to grandfathers and fathers and children feeding them. They are also, in my opinion, the ugliest of the duck family.
Now I have a six-year-old daughter of my own and we recently moved to a new home that features backyard access to a small pond. I love watching her excitement as the Muscovy Ducks come up to our back door. I even find myself looking for them some days. The other day they were congregating in our back yard so I took her outside to hang out with them as I snapped a few pictures. She wanted chased them and tried to pet them, and for the first time in a long time I was glad they were there. Then my daughter asked if we could feed them and I responded, “Absolutely Not.”