Friday morning I returned from prayers to find some excitement at home.
"There's a duck outside!"
Indeed a fine feathered fowl had taken up residence in our yard. He began to take up an increased interest in our back door and wanted to be let in, this is true in spite of several large scary humans who were standing right by the door. It probably had something to do with the cat who was currently hiding under a play structure and was actively stalking said bird.
Either the duck was familiar with and unafraid of humans, or he just was willing to take his chances with us instead of waiting around for the neighborhood cats to gain enough nerve to attack a larger animal than themselves.
A combination of pity and a desire of not wanting a dead bird in our backyard led me to donning gloves (oven mitts were handy, and yes they shall be washed before using for food again), and carrying our web-footed friend through our house onto our front porch.
Now that the bird was safe, and evidently friendly, the question was what to do with the darn thing.
Option one: find a butcher.
I was getting pretty hungry, but it was Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) eve and it would not be easy to get this done in a timely fashion since many butchers were probably busy because of:
Option two: Kapparot
On Yom Kippur eve there is a tradition of donating to charity. This can be done with a chicken where you declare that the chicken's life will be for your own, and then the chicken is ritually slaughtered, and the meat is donated to the poor. (What does this say about how much we value our own lives?). I usually don't go that route as I take the popular alternative of donating money instead. Yet here was this bird that showed up just in time! (Un)fortunately I had already donated monies that morning during services for this purpose, so I had no need of a bird.
However options 1 and 2 were both already moot. The kids had given the duck a name. You can't kill it once it has a name. We now had a duck named Kipper.
We are ill-equipped to deal with a duck. We called up a local petting zoo/farm to see if they would like our duck.
"We have a duck that showed up in our backyard. Do you want it?"
"That's new. Why don't you keep it? Ducks make wonderful pets."
"We're not really set up to keep a duck... it poops everywhere."
"Yeah, they do that, and they smell."
"That's kind of why we don't want to keep it."
"OK, we'll take it, but we can't come out to get it since it's Yom Kippur eve, you'll have to bring it by?"
"Put it in a box!"
Put it in a box. OK. Um... Ok.
I tried to put him in a box, but he didn't seem to keen on staying in there. We were not really interested in transporting a foul tempered fowl in our car.
Our neighbours had a cat carrier cage thing and let us borrow that. Not that the duck was very interested in entering an enclosed space that smelled like cat, but I didn't really give him much choice in the matter.
Family outing time!
We drove down to the nearby farm (only a 5 minute drive actually), and presented our duck. We were directed to the enclosure that housed ducks, geese, and ... ostriches.
We put Kipper in his new home and he prompty FREAKED OUT as an ostrich rushed over to see the new guy. Kipper ran up against the frence honking and flapping, begging us to take him back. Man we felt horrible.
Soon after though other ducks came over and made friends. Kipper was instantly calmed and seemed happy. "Others like me! I thought I was the only one!" A large mother goose came over too and comforted Kipper. He had a new family! Chana cried. It was like a disney ending.
We plan on taking the family back to the farm over the upcoming holiday (Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles), to visit him.
Goodbye Kipper the duck we'll miss you!
(Note: there are no shots of wild flapping or bird chasing, since my wife who is a bit of a chicken when it comes to birds was busy freaking out at those times instead of dutifully taking pictures.)