Eight Orphan Ducklings

This past April 29, my mother telephoned from Fort Myers. Earlier that day, she had heard a racket coming from the small retention lake that borders property where she and my father live. She went out to the lake shore and saw feathers, but no dead body. And she saw eight little ducklings. She figured that some carnivore had caught the mother duck, and now the eight ducklings were orphaned. She tried to feed them (I think with crackers or bread crumbs), but the ducklings didn’t let her come very close.

The next day, after a few calls, she obtained a consult from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). A volunteer couple from Maine arrived with binoculars and a camera, and they documented the orphaned baby ducklings, still very young and fluffy. An adult Muscovy duck appeared for a few minutes, but then left; later, another duck appeared, as well as two immature tricolored blue herons.

The CROW volunteers said that a mature duck might adopt the orphan ducklings, but otherwise their advice was to leave the ducklings alone; the ducklings would fend for themselves, finding food among the wild grasses. The CROW volunteers warned that only 40% of these orphans will survive. The water in the retention lake is receding, and soon the water will be too shallow for the ducklings; and then predator birds will come for them. This is what happens in nature.

Later that evening, my mother met some neighbors who said they had seen a 200-lb (“small”) black/brown bear only a few feet from their car. My mother has seen unfamiliar animal droppings in the back outside the lanai, and now thinks that it was a bear that attacked and killed the mother duck.

The ducklings are dark brown with a yellow breast; it remains to be determined what species of duck they are. They “peep” loudly, are beginning to separate into smaller groups, and sometimes walk onto the embankment. They look like they’re doing well, so my mother will let them look for food themselves.

Her camera is currently malfunctioning, so she has no pictures yet.

Charity Work in Romania

My friend K.C. was in Romania, from April 17 to 27. Along with some other volunteers, she was there doing charity work in a poor neighborhood village named Tarlungeni in which many Roma families live, near the city of Brasov. The volunteers helped raise (not raze!) two houses for poor families. This work was done through the agency of the Fundatia pentru Asistenta Sociala si Tineret (FAST, or the Foundation for Social Assistance and Youth).

The lucky families selected for whom a house would be built are based solely on need, e.g., number of children, number of caregivers (usually the parents or grandparents), possible acute health conditions. When a family is chosen, they must agree for their children to attend the Ziurel community center for educational purposes, and the man of the house (if there is one) must help with building the house.

Of course, in addition to the charity work, K.C. had the opportunity to explore Brasov and surrounding environs. Below are some photos she shared with me.

Outside the community center, 'New Day'

Outside the community center, 'New Day'

Arrival at Mica's (Grandma's)

Arrival at Mica's (Grandma's)

All eggs in one basket [Hand-painted Easter eggs for Orthodox Easter]

'All Eggs In One Basket' - hand-painted Easter eggs for Orthodox Easter

Family No. 3

Portrait of Family No. 3

Atop Mt. Tampa - K.C. and other volunteers

Atop Mt. Tampa - K.C. and other volunteers

Aerial View of Brasov, Romania

View of Brasov from 1600 Feet (atop Mt. Tampa)

Old City Hall, Brasov

Old City Hall, Brasov

At the house, day 1

At House No. 1, Day 1

Hard at work

Hard At Work

Village kids

Village Kids

Former house for a family of 10  - note incongruous satellite dish

Former house for a family of 10

The neighborhood

The Neighborhood

House In Progress

House In Progress (House No. 1)

Family for whom the house was built

Family for whom the house was built


Supervising drywall installation (House No. 2)

End of the project

End of the project (House No. 1)

Bran Castle, of Dracula lore

Bran Castle, of Dracula Lore