Ducks Uncovered

I’m about to call a moratorium on posts beyond what’s in the pipeline because there’s so. much. to write. The 11 o’clock edition of Action News tonight, however, ran a story that just screams to be blogged on, both for what it said and for what it left out.

Mama and baby ducklings in makeshift nest
Screencap © 2011 ABC/WPVI-TV Philadelphia.

The main thing that I was surprised anchor Jim Gardner didn’t mention during the story was that today was the birthday of John James Audubon — which I’ll admit I only knew thanks to the day’s Google logo.

And one reason why the omission is surprising is that the story was about some
ducks hatching outside a fast-food restaurant across the bridge from Philadelphia in Camden County. In case you didn’t know: Audubon, born Jean-Jacques Audubon in France, was a renowned ornithologist — Hello! — who became an American citizen right here in Philly during the War of 1812.

I also found it hilarious that the fast-food restaurant in question was a Chick-Fil-A. Propriety might dictate that a newsman not point out the juxtaposition of the newborn ducks yards away from an establishment whose business is serving up poultry to the hungry masses, but then again, knowing Jim, that ain’t necessarily so.

The other reason the omission is surprising is that the specific locale within Camden County where all of this went down is the borough of Audubon. How the serendipity of a public duck nest in Audubon, New Jersey, doesn’t get pointed out, even if you don’t comment on the irony of the Chick-Fil-A or throw in the fact that it was the man’s birthday, I have no idea.

Pennsylvania has a town called Audubon, too, by the way, home to a lovely museum and bird sanctuary. I think the little ducklings are cute and have nothing against them, but also by the way I’m rather surprised at how newsworthy the hatching was deemed, even from a light human-interest perspective. We must be even more divorced from nature than I thought for this event to be treated with that kind of “Did you ever see such a thing?” reverence.

Related: Go Cub Go The Birdy Bunch Oh Hell No


  1. I love coincidences like that and I can't believe they all slipped by... though I wonder who in the "real world" would find it interesting. I only say this thanks to SuperMoon who was a Big Deal on the internet but not so much on the outside:

    Me:(speaking to cashier) So! How about that SuperMoon?
    Cashier: Sorry?
    M: You know, the moon... (rapidly losing confidence) it's brighter and bigger by some percentage I can't remember...
    C: (turns to look at the moon) Oh yeah, there's the moon. Maybe I'll take a picture of it. Is it just tonight?
    M: (overly excited) Yes! that's part of what makes it special! Taking your own pictures won't be necessary, I've already found a bunch of great shots... online. (at this point in time my brain is clearly telling my mouth "Stop making sounds, you're being awkward, knock it off!" but I keep going. Like now.) So... yeah. Super. Moon. (stares at the ground, makes an odd noise in mouth when trying to swallow for whatever goddamn reason)Pictures of it by like the pyramids and Washington D.C. and stuff.
    C: Just take your ointment and leave now, sir.

    Baby ducks are one of the World's most beloved animals. Getting to stop traffic for a parade of ducklings is a treat that you'll take pictures of and talk about at work ("did you ever see such a thing?" ;) unlike, say, a parade of possums. I dare say not even a steam of baby bunnies could compete with ducklings. Though once I saw a trail of baby skunks!

  2. @Blam: Yeah, I can totally see Jim coming up with a sotto voce "I hope the Chick-Fil-A isn't feeding the ducks scraps from the kitchen..." as he throws it to Cecily for weather.

    @Joan: SuperMoon callback! Awesome! Is "steam of bunnies" a thing, like "murder of crows", or is it just a typo?

  3. @Arben - Hahaha! Mmm, a steam of baby bunnies! I am surprised that alone didn't' bring Evil Blam out of his hidey-hole. I wonder what a Groupling of baby bunnies is really called...
    Ah, apparently, wild bunnies are called a "warren" - which is stupid because that's also what you call a... rabbit... warren. A domestic groupling is called a "herd". People just got lazy with their naming after a time.