Because ultimately I know, there is really only one good reason to follow this blog and that is, of course, turkey duck.
After a night of searching, and I do mean searching because even after wading through the many references to turducken*, generally speaking and much to my surprise, not too many avian websites list in the official description for this species, duck that looks like a turkey or vice versa despite that being exactly how this creature appears, but still, I do believe I have correctly identified our web footed, wattle necked, fair feathered foe.
And no he (or she) is not some weird mutated duck or the product of some wild turkey’s last night on the market before he, um… actually went ON the market. He’s what’s known as a Muscovy Duck.
There he is. Isn’t he cute? Uh...maybe not so much. Mine’s a little more wattle and pretty much all black and BIG. Well actually, I think that’s the female. The male has a pretty similar face but a little bit more colorful black and blue wings. Or at least, I’m assuming the female’s all black and the male’s got some blue. I haven’t exactly checked to see who’s who.
Now, according to the officially official source Wikipedia (official in the sense that pretty much anybody, including my brother-in-law for a class project, can write up an entry), the Muscovy Duck is an invasive species in the US. They’re tropical birds that find a way to adapt to cold, snowy conditions. And they eat pretty much anything, fish, bugs, frogs, reptiles, plants, whatever. And apparently in some areas of FL, they’re a bit of a problem.
As far as the charging the other day goes, looks like my guess was right. Since he came charging out of the woods and they nest in tree hollows, there’s probably some soon to be hatched babies in the area. The good news is the babies look like this:
Say it with me now, “Awwwwwwwww.” So they will be totally fun to watch waddle about shortly. The bad news: daddy and mommy have “long claws” on the ends of their webbed feet and they ARE in fact fast. I haven’t been able to find their exact land speed, but if Wiki says fast AND claws, trust me, I’m not looking to evaluate it first hand. Chances are, though not always, daddy will be sticking around for 10-12 weeks for protection and some friends may or may not lend him a hand, if there does happen to be some more in the area. Even if there isn’t and daddy chooses to move on (stupid deadbeat duck dad), I’m thinking mamma’s probably not one to mess with either. So looks like I’ll need to keep my eyes open on the trails for awhile (hmmm….wonder if I should warn Zen Runner. Have I told you guys about him? I always see him running on the trails with his ipod on and eyes closed. Seriously. It’s like he runs just by the feel of his feet on the pavement. I did bust him once though. He was wearing sunglasses and I don’t think he realized that I could see his eyes. They were open. Pretty sure he just doesn’t want to talk to or acknowledge anyone else is out there with him. Guess a turkey duck is the price you pay for being the one unfriendly runner on the trail eh?)
But what Wikipedia fails to report about turkey duck, sorry, Muscovy duck, is that he’s a bit of a prankster. A prankster with my dad for an accomplice to be precise.
It was my last long run (with my husband, YAY! Our first long run together since his knee surgery last year) that turkey duck and I had another run in. As we crested the bridge in the area where I spotted him swimming the first time, I pointed it out to my husband. “Right over there, out of the corner of my eye, he swam by. I wasn’t sure what I saw,” I reported, our heads turned to the left as we scoped out the scene to see if we could catch another glimpse. “But that’s not where the nest is,” I explained as we kept our eyes locked on that location lest we become victims of a turkey duck sneak attack, “the nest is further down, about a 1/4 mile or so on the other side.” And at that we turned our heads to the opposite direction. One guess who was patiently sitting to our immediate right almost on the trail. You got it. Turkey duck himself. I screamed, practically knocked over my husband to move over to the left and get away from him, and of course ran faster.
My dad, who was just sitting up a few feet ahead at the one mile marker on his bike, was laughing hysterically. He saw turkey duck the whole time but apparently the two had a secret pact not to divulge his location for entertainment purposes. And turkey duck…he just followed us with his eyes as we ran by. Didn’t get up, didn’t flinch, “yeah runner girl. You remember, I own you. Keep movin’” (be sure to read that in your thug duck voice. If you don’t have one, the Terminator will suffice. He’s not from around these parts anyway).
So there you have it. See Virginia. There is a turkey duck. Unfortunately, he’s fast and has claws.
P.S. Don’t worry. I WILL actually warn Zen Runner about turkey duck should the opportunity present itself.
P.P.S. I will NOT be giving up my trails to a duck. So feel free to leave me any defensive strategies or evasive maneuvers in the comments. You know how some people carry dog biscuits to toss out to neighborhood dogs so the dogs won’t bother them, I'm thinking maybe I could carry a spare frog in my fuel belt pocket (one that died of perfectly natural causes of course). Only then I won’t have anywhere to put my GU or E-GEL. Darn you Fuel Belt people! Why don’t you make that little pocket big enough for a frog?! I mean really. Other suggestions?
P.P.P.S. Ok just one more thing then I will leave you to your Saturday night. Promise. I've decided to leave that little Giveaway button up over there on the upper right. Even though mine's over, there's a few around town you might want to check out (including another One More Mile giveaway-SWEET!), so I posted them there. But nobody go thank me just yet, I must admit, I get entries into those giveaways for posting them on my blog so my intentions are not entirely pure. But hey, I won't hold it against you if you snake the prizes away from me. At least, not for too long ;-) Have fun! And check back often for updates. Feel free to notify me if you've got one going on I've missed. I do have turkey ducks to contend with after all so I'm sure I've overlooked some good ones. Ok now, carry on.
*Turducken – typically a Thanksgiving or Christmas dish of turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken which may or may not be stuffed with sausage. Variations of this dish include any sort of bird stuffed with any other sort of bird. Really. Historic origins of this dish are highly disputed as it seems a number of various ethnic groups would like to be credited with stuffing meat with meat. Probably tasty, but pretty sure turkeys are highly insulted.