Herald-Journal Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 22, 1998

Flying south makes good sense

By OPAL "GRANDMA " HABISCH

Mr. and Mrs. Billy Woodduck live in Minnesota. During the winter, because it gets very cold in Minnesota, they fly south where it is warmer.

They had a very harrowing trip to Minnesota last year. This is their story, according to Mr. Woodduck:

"We started out with a group of about 100 duck families. As we flew, we looked for large places to land, where there would be plenty of food and a safe place to stay for the night. Sometimes we didn't see any good places for many miles and we had to keep on flying.

"One day it started to rain as we were flying. It rained very hard and the wind came up. We realized we were in the middle of a storm.

"Some of the families had to land, even though we had no idea where we were. We came down on a lake and the waves were so big that they washed us up on shore.

"Due to the rough landing, some of the ducks got hurt, including Mrs. Woodduck, who hurt her leg. Other ducks were feeling sick from being tossed around by the wind. Some of the ducks were missing from the group. We hoped they were able to find a good place to land somewhere else.

"I called to the ducks who were able to fly to help look for food and a dry place to stay. We found a big cornfield a short distance away and came back for the other ducks waiting by the lake. The next morning, after everyone had rested, we set out for the cornfield.

"We stayed in the cornfield for two days. Everyone had plenty to eat and recovered from their storm injuries. We were anxious to get to Minnesota and raise our duck children. So after a few days we got on our way.

"We flew for five days. Finally we were back in Minnesota, on our own lake. It felt so good to get home. Mrs. Woodduck made a nest and laid six eggs.

"I was kept busy bringing food to Mrs. Woodduck while she kept the eggs warm on the nest. One day she told me to wait for her at the lake.

"I waited for her there and when she came, she was followed by six baby ducks. All of the other ducks gathered around and complimented us on our new family.

"Summer passed, and when fall came, we got ready to fly south again for the winter. There were many new members of our group for this trip. The young ducks had become good swimmers and flyers after spending their summer on the lake.

"Four of the young ducks in our family had been spending time at a house near the lake. Some girls that lived in the house had been feeding them and playing with them. They had grown quite fat over the summer and thought that they would just stay in Minnesota for the winter with the girls, who were building a duck house for them.

"Mrs. Woodduck was quite upset. She didn't want to leave some of the family behind. I told the youngsters that they would be sorry if they didn't come south with us, but there was nothing we could say to convince them to fly with us.

"So we went south without them. Mrs. Woodduck was very sad and missed the young ducks very much.

We were at our southern home about three weeks when, one day, the four youngsters flew in.

"Why did you come back?" I asked them.

"'It's too cold in Minnesota,' they answered.

"Well, we tried to tell them they would be sorry if they stayed behind. I guess next time they will know that they should listen to their mother and dad."

Boys and girls, always listen to your parents. They know what's best.


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