We lost Oliver a few days ago. Oliver is one of our ducks. I've been trying to break myself of the habit of referring to it as a "he" ever since she started laying eggs and it became obvious that he is actually a she. I told everyone we should switch from calling her Oliver to Ollie...but I think at this point it's a lost cause.
But anyhow, we lost her.
At first I wasn't worried. Because being as small as she is, we discovered a few weeks ago that she can squeeze under the gate and into the front yard. But she always stays in the little side yard next to our driveway for the short time she is there. And always wriggles back under the gate to join the rest of her fowl family for food, water and shelter.
But this time it'd been a couple of days since we had seen her.
Bryan had caught four teenaged boys from our neighborhood hanging out in our backyard a few nights earlier. Apparently they had been playing "Fugitive" as part of a church activity. When they were spotted by Bryan, they took a flying leap over our fence and into the neighbors yard. But apparently they must have originally come in using the opposite side gate. The one that is broken and doesn't close without effort.
So the next morning as they were getting ready to leave for school, Julianne and Rebekah found our feathered friends waddling around our front yard, having escaped from the open gate. Luckily they hadn't wandered completely away and the girls were able to shoo them back into the fenced back yard.
But later we realized that Oliver was missing. She wasn't back the next day either. Bryan searched the back yard. He searched the front yard. She was nowhere to be found and we started to think that maybe because she had escaped on the opposite side from where she was familiar, she had become confused and waddled off down the street to who knows where.
It was the day after this, as I was pulling out of the driveway that I remembered something that had happened the week before...
As I was getting Lilian ready for school, the doorbell rang. At the door was a few of her friends on their way to the bus stop. They said they had seen our duck in the front yard. It had run under the pine tree and was hiding from them, they said. I thanked them for the info and told them all was well. Ollie was familiar with the side yard and would likely scoot back under the fence when she was ready...and to please just leave her alone. They did, and she did.
...but as I passed that pine tree while driving away, I wondered.
So I called Bryan. It's a long shot, I told him. But maybe he should check under the pine tree? I laughed when I got a text saying Oliver had been found and saw these pictures Bryan snapped.
Apparently the real reason she was making her way into the front yard and back every day was not just out of curiosity. Ollie has always been one to change up her nesting spots, even going so far as to try to cover her eggs with dirt to keep us from finding them. And thirteen eggs? Seeing as she lays one a day, she's been doing this for two weeks! Impressive girl!