If you’ve known me personally or kept up with me on Facebook, you probably know about our roof ducks.
We hadn’t been living in our current house for very long before we’d start noticing – from time to time – one or two mallard ducks sitting on the roof of our house and occasionally on the roof of our neighbors’. It was cute. I dubbed them “roof ducks”, we went on with our lives, and that was that.
Only that wasn’t that. That wasn’t that at all. That wasn’t even on the same bus as that.
No, the ducks seemed to like our roof. Their visits became more frequent, and their numbers grew. Now, I love birds, and birding, and bird feeders, and ducks, and whatever, and I love them more than most people probably do. So I was surprised myself when I started to get annoyed with the ever-growing flock that was hanging out on my roof twice a day.
See, that was the first problem: the ducks began arriving (and still do arrive) twice a day, once between 7:40 and 8:30 a.m., once again between 2:45 and 4:00 p.m. Yes, that precise, and yes, that frequent. Now, this might not be more than a novelty, an oddity of the natural world mingling with suburbia. The problem is the noise.
Because a few ducks landing on your roof at 8:00 a.m. isn’t particularly loud if you notice it at all.
Seriously, these animals are able to be borne by both water and air, but they’re defying physics somehow, because when they land on my roof it thunders. Ducks are like the Avengers’ Hellicarrier of the animal kingdom.
Now, there are a few large fountains and many ponds in our neighborhood alone. There are also a few areas of protected marshland, including a large parcel in the adjacent state park. The neighborhood across the street has two moderately big lakes in it (hence its “Twin Lakes” moniker), several retaining ponds, and, oh yeah, WE LIVE ON A POINT OF LAND SURROUNDED BY THE PUGET SOUND!!!
I might be able to make peace with the fact that a nomadic tribe of clomping ducks likes to kick it on my roof, noise notwithstanding, if it wasn’t for the time of day. The morning visits come when the babies are just down for their naps, and much, much worse, when I am simultaneously taking what I call a “solidarity nap”.
The noise has woken them up, woken me up, kept me up, and given me some pretty messed up dreams.
I started going outside when the ducks would arrive to scare them off, hoping that in time they would learn that they are not welcome here.
At first, the noise of the front door opening was enough to send them scattering. They got used to that, so I started shouting at them. When that wore off, I took to throwing rocks, but stopped when I realized that my throwing ability was probably at least partly to blame for my always being picked last for teams in middle school.
Finally one day I dug out one of the few relics of my youth that I still have, a Super Soaker FPS 2000, which is a handheld water cannon that could probably double as a crowd control device.
Yes. Water. The duck’s only weakness.
The gun worked, and still mostly works, but I do feel a bit silly going outside in sweats or pjs to spray ducks on my roof with water.
Even the Vera is only a short-term fix. The ducks are starting to get used to it and only those who actually get hit are leaving.
What does one do when one has an infestation of water fowl? Bird spikes, fake owls, ribbons, etc. won’t do because the HOA won’t allow stuff on the roof. A real gun is out of the question, as duck corpses and bullet holes littering our roof would be problematic.
I’ve looked up pest-control companies, but their only solutions again come back to stuff on our roof.
The worst thing – the absolute worst thing – about this whole ordeal is that I’m pretty sure this is all deliberate.
The ducks numbers, audacity, and dire warnings are all growing. I see the way they look at me. They aren’t the looks of wild ducks. There’s intelligence there. Evil, spiteful intelligence. I know a threatening look when I receive one.
Did you read that in Donald Duck’s voice?
You did that time.
I think that that guy’s the leader. I have dubbed him Stripe, after his resemblance to the gremlin leader in “Gremlins”.
What should I do? I’m seriously asking. I’ve Googled this very problem and all that came up was a picture of the Ghost of Christmas Future pointing at my tombstone.
I need to know that I’m raising my boys in a world where they need not fear marauding gangs of algae-feeding poultry.
Most of all, I need my naptime back.