I got off my knees and peered out back. Sure enough, there was a mallard pacing back and forth along the outside of our pool fence. He was quacking and pacing, and if ever a duck looked annoyed, this one did.

“DUCK!” yelled my daughter.


I dropped to the floor. “What? Is something coming at my head?”


“No. Duck … in the backyard!” she clarified.


I got off my knees and peered out back. Sure enough, there was a mallard pacing back and forth along the outside of our pool fence. He was quacking and pacing, and if ever a duck looked annoyed, this one did.


Last time I checked, ducks could fly, so I was perplexed why this duck was staying on the wrong side of the pool fence.


Now for those of you who are new to this column, you should know that it is not an unusual occurrence for us to get ducks in our backyard. There is a pair of mallards, Larry and Loretta, the snowbirds, who fly up from Boca Raton every spring to their lovely place here in New Jersey. They have been doing this every year since we moved into our house 11 summers ago. The last two years they brought their friend Sy with them to enjoy duck paddling in the frigid water that collects over the winter in our pool tarp. I tried to convince them to wait a month until we actually open the pool, but I guess they prefer to be here early and get first dibs on the drowned worms. Early bird and all that ... you know.


Anyway, at first I thought one of the ducks had arrived alone. But I soon saw that all three were actually here:  Larry and Loretta were in the pool and Sy was the one outside the fence.


This is when I realized that there might have been a falling out in duckland.


Every time Sy approached the fence, Larry hopped out of the pool and ran straight at Sy, quacking and flapping his wings in obvious disapproval.


“I think the ducks are fighting over the pool,” I said to my daughter.


“Seriously, Mom? Don’t you know anything? She said rolling her eyes. “They are fighting over Loretta!”


I looked back and saw Loretta calmly preening her tail feathers while the male mallards engaged in a quack-off.


“Well, that’s not very cool of Sy,” I said glaring at the outcast duck. “Doesn’t he know that ducks mate for life?”


“I guess he missed the memo,” said my daughter. I laughed out loud. 


While we pondered the situation with the ducks, we failed to notice someone else who was becoming increasingly bothered by the duck wars. It wasn’t until my daughter opened the back door to the deck to go out and get a better look that we realized the dog was on high alert. He bolted out the door and ran toward the pool, barking his head off at the ducks. Without another quack, both Larry and Sy flew the coop. But Loretta calmly hopped back into the pool and started swimming again.


“Well I guess that solves that,” I said. “She’s not going to pick either of them now.”


“Why?” asked my daughter.


“Because now she knows they’re both chickens.”


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