Facts About Waterfowl

May 29th, 2004

It is the way of Canadian geese, when a threat is precieved to their young by another animal, to either swim away or to hiss. Having ridden along the Erie Canal many times, I have often been hissed at by little families of geese who have no intention of moving down the steep bank of the towpath to retreat into safety of the water. One or both of the parents will take a few steps out towards a passing jogger or cyclist, bowing their heads and hissing while their little fluffy progeny stay nestled in the grass. Riding by this afternoon about a dozen yards in front of my mother, I stayed to the farthest side of the path from a family group and was met with some of the most insistent hissing from a goose I have run across, and so in the spirit of experimentation, I hissed back to see what the goose would do. As it turns out, a goose when hissed back at is likely to take off and fly after you and beat you about the head with its wings for a short distance before returning to its family, because this is what happened to me, much to my ammusment and much to my mothers horror.

On Erie Boulevard, a road which coincidently follows the path of a now filled-in portion of the historic waterway, is Liquor City, and behind that on a side street is an establishment called Pan Asian Grocery. Driving home from dinner with my family yesterday, my mother decided that she wanted to stop there, because apparently they the best price on large quantities of minced garlic. I had never been in before, and found the fishy smelling store awash in ambient oriental music fairly interesting, but that interest was truely piqued when I saw in an open carton by the check out, atop a stack of cardboard boxes, a few dozen eggs. The sign, which was the flap of the box on which they were set, declared: Duck Eggs $0.89 -> Babies Inside! I picked up the one on the corner and warmed it between my palms as I brought this to the attention of my mother in disbelief that the eggs were in fact viable. My mother, in turn, asked the check-out lady who replied in somewhat shakey English that they were supposed to be heated up to ninety degrees and then eaten. An example she gave my mother as an occasion for such a meal was if you were having a problem with your shoulder. I didn't buy one, because I wasn't sure if I had the means to incubate it, or if the eggs were even fresh enough that it would enable the duck inside to be born at all. The car ride home was composed of fanciful speculation on my brothers and my part about having duck babies, and if you hatched one, whether it would follow you around. Thinking about it now, it seems almost silly to have assumed that if kept warm a live duck could emerge from one of those greenish eggs.

Posted by Natalie

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