|Taken on the 70 - 300mm Nikon zoom lens at 300mm|
We humans have to learn about dangers. Sometimes we are warned of certain animals that a dangerous. Many of us may never have seen a tiger or a wolf, but we would know that these animals can cause harm.
I have ducks in my garden. They wander around and seem generally content. We get eggs from them as we do the chickens. We live out in the Fenlands of eastern England and there are a variety of raptors. It has always amazed me how the ducks instinctively know that raptors or birds of prey can be harmful to them. Yet not one of my ducks has ever experienced an attack from a raptor. They seem to know automatically when they are in the sky too. Sometimes the bird of prey is so high up, it can hardly be made out. It baffles me how the ducks know.
Today, my wife Carole was digging up worms and the ducks were excitedly quaking the way ducks do. For a time the ducks were incredibly noisy as the foraged about the dug up garden patch. Carole came back and sat with me on the garden decking. Then suddenly she said, “The ducks have gone quite.”
I looked to the ducks and they were silent and standing still. Their heads seemingly to the side but only slightly. Then Carole said, “There must be a buzzard or something.”
She peered up into the clear blue sky with her hand over her brow to block out the sun’s glare. I did the same but could only see blue sky. I thought it may have been an old wives tale, but then Carole pointed up. I peered along her line of pointing. To my surprise, there was this minute dot circling very high up.
“Blimey,” I exclaimed. “How can the ducks see that?”
“They have some sort of instinct,” replied Carole.
I reached for my camera and homed in with the telescopic sight. As the raptor circled over the lens sensor, I was able to get off a few good photo shots. It was a grand sight. After a time the bird of prey caught the wind and flew off at speed over the houses of March town.
The ducks resumed their noisy banter and we sat down and discussed how ducks must pass on some sort of gene or memory from an ancestor that allows them to know about high-flying raptors.