Mar. 25, 2017

Harry the Duck

Meet Harry The Duck. He was found drowning in the duck pond at Island Deli & Café off Highway 17 in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. By drowning, I mean a turtle was pulling him under. At the time, Harry was just a little peep, about a week old, and apparently a snacking idea for the turtle.

“My husband, Rob, got a pole and stirred the mud making the turtle let go of him,” Penny Thomas Barbour said of his rescue.

“The poor little guy,” I offered.

“The turtle was pulling him by the foot and you could see his little head pop up and then go back down under the water. After Rob got him free, the mama duck rejected him.”

“Was he sick or injured?” I asked, knowing that sometimes the mother of a species often rejects a sick youngling and instead worries more about the healthier babies.”

Penny denied anything was wrong with Harry. “The mama duck checked him out and then collected her other babies and left him. Rob went over and moved her back toward Harry but she did the same thing, she checked him out and then left. She collected her other babies and refused to let Harry join them so, we brought him home with us.”

Since then, several of Penny’s Facebook friends have been following his story. She posts pictures of him frequently and informs everyone of his progress as he grows into a fledgling. It’s been apparent to us for some time now that Harry knows his mama.

“Rob and I can be in the yard and if I leave, he follows behind me,” she says with a laugh. “Just recently, he’s learned how to hop up a flight of stairs and tap on the door when he’s hungry. We’ve had to put up baby gates to keep him from doing that. I’ve seen him tumble down them a couple of times so I’m really scared he’s going to do that and break his leg or wing.”

A thought occurred to me while I was talking to Penny: Harry is a duck, he needs water, a pond is best. And, what about food? What does one feed a duck for a nutrionally balanced diet?

Penny explained they had a kiddie pool for him to swim in which is filled with clean water once or twice a day. There’s also the pond across the street she takes him too daily often tossing treats down near the bank of the pond to get him used to it. “He’s really afraid of the pond though. He absolutely refuses to leave the water’s edge. I am hoping to get him more comfortable with the idea though.”

And, what about food?

“We buy duck feed from the Island Shop in Pawley’s, and I cut up tomatoes and grapes for him. Sometimes I even smoosh bugs and dig up worms.” Seeing the look on my face when she talks about the latter activity, she laughs and says, “I’m a good mama duck.”

Penny has been warned though, that as Harry learns to spread his wings and fly, he’ll be flying alongside of her truck every time she leaves the house.