You pregnant yet?

I interrogated the female with the direct question, as I climbed through the fence to feed the horses this morning.

She didn’t answer.

Ducks don’t talk.

But I got an answer this afternoon, when I saw her guiding her young around the pond in the pasture.

Usually, at least a half dozen ducklings would be there this time of year.

I leaned against the fence rail, watching the single survivor follow her mother.

What happened?

Two drakes glided to the surface from the cobalt sky and squawked either threat or acknowledgement, most likely the former, because she hustled the duckling close to her wing and headed toward the edge of the pond, where she climbed up the bank and flew off.

Without the duckling.

Is this why only one survived, because the mother abandoned the rest?

Or were her eggs robbed by hawks, and she’s devised a hiding place at the edge of the pond for her survivor?

I don’t know.

Not yet, anyway.

I mean, this just happened a minute ago.

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash