Finding a mate for Mr. Big

Mr. Big is a very large Muscovy duck that lives on Falls River in Essex , Connecticut. We have had the pleasure of transforming a clients’ property there for much of the summer and, admiring the river views, noticed that, despite the ample companionship of a dozen or so Canada geese, he was a single white male with beautiful black carruncles, but no love interest. Over cocktails with our clients, now friends, we inquired about his winter status. Sad news. The Canadian companions fly south leaving him all alone.  We just happen to have a lot of Muscovy ducks and, after conferring, we all decided that Mr. Big needed a mate. Out of a fairly large pool of candidates, Mochachina, a brown and cream colored female, seemed like the most well-suited. She is independant, energetic, and likes the great outdoors more than most of the ducks who prefer to go into the henhouse/shelter at night.

Today was the big event. We brought Mochachina to Falls River for her date with fate. Mr Big, desultory, bored, and perhaps, even, depressed was sharing his throne, a large, broad, smooth rock that juts out of the current, with Mr. Tortoise. Ms. Mocha, traumatized, no doubt, by the forced disenfranchisement from her clan and the fear of the unknown that Falls River is (am I anthropomorphizing? yes, of course), leaped from Andrew’s arms into the drink and paddled off upstream, definitely not in the direction of Mr. Big. Hours went by. Andrew beat a trail upstream through the brush, hugging the riverbank, watching her closely and attempting to cajole her into moving in the other direction. Perched on the bank with a pair of binoculars, I observed, waiting, expecting for Mr. Big to make a move or, at least, show an interest. Nothing doing. We began to really worry. This doesn’t look like its in the cards.

Amazingly, surprisingly, Mochachina paddled towards the center of the river. Clearly Mr. Big could see her. Why is he stone still, or worse, seemingly uninterested? Mocha paddled back to her safe haven, alone, frightened, disenfranchised; 20 minutes passed. Andrew trailed her and more cajoling ensued. What happened next is magic. I don’t know how it happened or what changed but Mochachina boldly swan across the river to make her presence known. Mr. Big had left the rock and ambled up onto the grassy lawn of the “neighbor who feeds him’. Assuming a sort of petrified stance for a long time, he watched her.  She flirted a bit, paddling back and forth and , when that didn’t get his attention in a way that satisfied her, she flew up on the embankment and introduced herself, face to face. They were tentative and awkward with one another. It was strange, but then, Mr. Big started wagging his tail (Muscovies are like dogs in this way, they wag their tails to express satisfaction). Mocha approached and stood near him. We all watched in amazement. Mission accomplished. There will be more to post about this. We will need to see how they get along with one another but Bette, our client, called me to say that Mochachina was comfortably sitting and preening herself, ( a sure sign of feeling safe) six feet behind Mr. Big, where he faced the river in a protective stance. That sounds pretty good to me. May they be well  together. More later.

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