Who would have thought 5 Muscovy ducks could cause so much drama! A few days ago, Lil' Girl, my favorite female of the bunch, up and flew away. I got up that morning, opened up the back blinds of the window that overlooks the pond, and all of the ducks were flying around. Four of them came right back. Lil' Girl had something else on her agenda. I keep hoping she'll reappear, but so far no luck.
Then, this morning, Jason looked out the same window and saw the same thing - all ducks in flight. This time, however, two of them came back and temporarily roosted on the roof of the house. This is Mama duck and one of the babies (all grown up now). Daddy Duck and the other male baby still haven't come back.
I walked down to the pond to refresh their food and to make sure the heater was keeping an area unfrozen so they can drink, and I noticed footprints in the snow that sits on top of the frozen pond. The tracks indicate a smallish animal with padded feet was on the ice. I'm thinking it was likely a fox or a small coyote. And I'm also thinking that is what spooked all the ducks into flying off. What I don't know is if Mr. Predator managed to nab him a duck dinner before all was said and done. I'm hoping not, but there's really no way to know. The paw prints going towards the duck's watering hole is not a good sign though. I guess at this point we just watch and see what happens. Hopefully we manage to get the two that came back to stick around. There really isn't much we can do aside from provide them with food, water and shelter, which they already have full access to. If the two that came back are smart they will sleep on the roof until the pond thaws and they can use their floating duck dock again (now embedded in a slab of ice).
Edit: Daddy Duck came home at dusk tonight! :)