Feathery Friends Friday

Published 28, Dec, 2012

Wayne Bristow and Marty the Hooded Merganser.

 Feathery Friends Friday

Last year I wrote a blog called “My Pets Fly” in response to my fellow writers here at PositiveLite.com who wrote about their dogs for “Furry Friends Friday”. I wanted to write something but I don't have a dog or a cat. I don’t like to “stoop and scoop” the poop nor do I have a desire to clean litter boxes. At my age, stooping isn’t an easy task anymore, unless I see money. 

When I was first diagnosed with HIV my doctor asked if I had a cat and informed me that there is a parasite in feline feces called toxoplasmosis that can be harmful to people with a compromised immune system. This isn’t the only reason I don’t have a cat, I don’t hate them, I just don’t like them. 

I have several friends who have cats. Some will let me know they have one but I'm not to worry, it doesn't like new people or doesn't like men. They tell me that it will be hiding under the bed or will stay in another room. But as soon as I'm inside the house the cat will come right up to me, and worse, it rubs up against me. If I sit down on the couch, it will jump up and want to sit in my lap. I pick it up and put it down on the floor and it will jump back up. This will go on for quite a while until the owner puts a stop to it, somehow. 

My pets are outside all the time, out amongst nature. I think we’re a strange pairing. These pets fly, I’m 58 and have never flown anywhere. But they don’t need to be fed, walked or taken care of by me.  

Last winter I was able to get out hiking around town alot but this year, it takes a real effort. One day I might head up to the Arboretum at the University, another day I’ll just hang out at the river and photograph the birds, ducks, seagulls or geese. They all look the same so I can make believe each one is the same one from the day before. 

One in particular is the Hooded Merganser pictured here. For the last three winters there has been one down on the river hanging out with the Mallard ducks, Canada Geese and seagulls that live here year round. Like I said, I can't say if it’s the exact same duck from the year before but each October one will show up and I've been snapping photos of him and many of his amusing mannerisms. He can be quite comical at times.

All pets need a name so I have given him the name Marty. Now I'm considering having a talk with my daughter-in-law about writing a story based on him. She wants to write children’s stories so maybe this would work. 

Marty has become quite the subject for conversation. Daily I am asked what kind of duck he is. Sometimes I meet up with other photographers or just people who come to feed the ducks and when they spot him they are always curious where he came from. I’m becoming very knowledgeable about nature, ducks, and birds. I need a life methinks. It is a way to meet new people, keeps my mind working and hopefully I get a little exercise. 

When spring rolls around, several more Hooded Mergansers can be found, males as well as some females. When the males pair up with a female, they aren't as friendly around the other ducks on the river, they keep to themselves and don't come close enough for me to get many good photographs. I haven't seen any baby ones yet, they are usually gone by then. Maybe one year they will stay all year like the Common Mergansers do. I've included a picture of them above as well. 

It takes a lot of standing in one place, watching and hoping for a different shot. I nearly froze trying to get the ones I've included here.