When Ms Daisy began her search for a nest site, she settled on a 4’ tall planter conveniently located under roof and partially blocked by a large support column at the main entrance to the restaurant. The glass walls allowed her to observe the busy humans as they paraded by.
Generally her huff and defensive posture was enough to discourage anyone from coming too close, but for those who thought she was a decoy, the staff placed a sign that read “Real Duck, Please DO NOT try to feed or pet.”
The staff resisted the urge to feed her as food placed in the nest would have attracted ants. Daisy would periodically leave the nest to go feed but as the temperatures started to rise, staff would place a container of water in the planter to help keep mama hydrated. It was a client and food server, Amanda Clark, who first alerted me to Daisy, and upon a site visit, I realized the potential negative outcome for not only Daisy but for the emotions of her MiDia family who had interacted with her on a daily basis.
Unintended consequences often occur when well meaning humans try to help as mama ducks begin to walk their babies to water. In this scenario a restaurant parking lot surrounded by heavily trafficked feeder streets was going to be unsafe at anytime of the day.
For approximately 28 days, Daisy stayed vigilant. Shifting, rotating, stretching, preening and napping while patrons and staff would come to the glass or pause on the way to their car to marvel at Daisy and her nest. Meanwhile, I located the nearest water source and tried to anticipate the direction she might choose to go. Clients and friends who share the same passion for the lives of animals were put on standby as I alerted Grapevine Animal Services of a plan and made sure that MiDia managers knew to contact me as soon as the eggs began to hatch.
That call came Sunday, June 28 at 10am. Carrie Paris, Sandra Ros and Roberto and Karin Saucedo and I alternated watch time at the restaurant that day and hoped that Daisy would most likely begin to move her 9 ducklings the following Monday morning.
Arriving at 5:15am, Carrie and I quietly sat and waited. By 6:30am, 3 of the chicks were on the ground and by 7:15am, mama had successfully convinced #9 to drop. She walked them to the grassy area and then to another grassy area by Bob’s Chop House and there she stopped and stayed in one spot. By 9am I realized that Daisy’s indecisiveness to continue to water was because one of the chicks was not doing well and with people arriving for work, the situation wasn’t going to improve.
A brief opportunity to net all of them together occurred and I quickly did just that.
The family remained 3 weeks in rehab until the remaining 8 chicks were large enough to not be easily eaten by predators on a pond. A private landowner less then 5 miles as a duck would fly from MiDia allowed Daisy and her ducklings to safely re-enter into the wild.
Daisy adapted to her urban family but more importantly Mi Dia, Grapevine Animal Services, and the City of Grapevine adapted to her. It really does take a village.
Congratulations on your new home Daisy!