A Duck Tail

Gilberto Raffanti, grandfather to a bunch of ducklings. (Photos provided)

Gilberto Raffanti, grandfather to a bunch of ducklings. (Photos provided)

As spring begins, mother Mallard ducks lay eggs in parks, planters, and other usual spots.

This year, Sun City resident Gilberto Raffanti and his dog, Basil, discovered a duck nest with six eggs in their own back yard. That discovery was the beginning of an adventure that dominated Raffanti’s life for almost a month.

Raffanti felt some pride in the fact that she had chosen a nest site in his backyard. He kept a vigilant watch and never disturbed the duck or nest. The month’s vigil included abundant rain and gusty winds, reaching 45-55 miles per hour.

Raffanti fretted, worried, and admired the duck’s dedication to her eggs.

“She appeared to always be on the nest,” Raffanti said. While Raffanti is a hunter himself, he felt that after this extraordinary opportunity to watch the mother’s dedication, he would not be hunting ducks.

Before the ducks hatched, Raffanti would only get close enough to see the nest, but never close enough to disturb the mother, even forgoing mowing the lawn on that side of his house.

Raffanti’s grandfatherly instincts told him that he needed to do something to protect the duck and the eggs from predators such as raccoons, foxes, hawks, owls, rats, cats, or even dogs that were not as harmonious as Basil.

Raffanti’s solution?

Without disturbing the nest, he placed a chair near the nest, adding some protection. It worked! Eventually, three little ducklings emerged unharmed, giving Raffanti a sense of pride. Although the nest is now empty, and the ducks have safely gone on their way, Raffanti misses his feathered friends.

hopes that she will return next year. He hopes they will return again next year.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “It was life at its best.”

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