Have you ever seen a wood duck? With its Mardi Gras face, color-block body paint, and extreme bicycle-racing helmet, it looks like a duck designed by one of those 1980s-era Italian design firms, like the Memphis group:
I live near an elbow of the Hackensack River, and we’re regular visitors to an adjacent pond that attracts a mob of waterfowl: mallards, egrets, cormorants, night herons, geese. The wood duck is the gaudiest of the visitors. We’ve been feeding an injured mallard all summer, who knows us well enough to come plopping ashore on her injured foot at the sound of my wife’s voice. Yesterday, walking around the pond during break before mincha, we were greeted by our old friend. The wood duck, shy until now, followed close behind.
We like to think of ourselves as friends to the animals, although real birders will probably complain that we’re turning our ducks into shnorrers.