Today’s post is in recognition of all ducks out there, as it is duck shooting season.
The dark times have returned. Camouflaged maimai’s, dotted around waterways are being erected. Soon, within these secluded, hidden shelters, humans with guns will huddle, their faithful sleek retriever dogs by their side, waiting, watching, gleefully anticipating.
Our feathers will ruffle, our webbed feet will shudder on witnessing an abundance of decoy ducks floating on our beloved wetlands, lakes and rivers.
The air will resound with horrendous honking, duck-mimicking noise, in an attempt to lure naive ducks into flying overhead. Upon being shot, ducks plummet gracelessly, to be retrieved by slobbering hounds and bagged by gormless humans. The dark times have returned.
These gun-wielding assassins dare to call duck shooting a sport. How can the annual decimation of a species unable to fight back, be considered sporting? And the fact that duck shooting season is sanctioned by the law’s of the nation is blatant hypocrisy.
In a desperate quest for self-preservation, some of us, annually flock to public gardens and parks and submit to voluntary lock-down. While taking refuge in suburban locations, we are grateful to the kind souls, who feed us human foods such as bread or stale crackers or rotting fruits. These morsels provide us with much-needed nourishment in these bleak times. Still, human food is not conducive to our bodily systems and ultimately cause adverse ailments.
Those unable to take the flight will remain exposed to the dangers, fearful for their lives. Only essential trips for the gathering of necessities is advised. As Walter Cronkite said, ‘The perils of duck hunting are great – especially for the ducks.’
As in past years, our return to our homelands, following the duck shooting season will be a time of great sadness. We will discover who has become a lame duck or not survived the slaughter. Who has become an orphan or who has lost a beloved grandparent? A time of grief and mourning for those who have met their untimely and unwarranted death will cast a dark shadow over our holy habitats.
Revolution is afoot. The status quo is about to be disrupted, laws will be rewritten and history made. The dark times will end forever.
Taking charge of their own destiny, ducks are fighting back.
I, Dario Duck, a humble middle-aged Mallard duck have devised an ingenious plan, a cunning campaign to end the fear, the suffering and the grief. The annual massacre of ducks as we know it will be no more.
Honking throughout the land has spread the call. As wings furiously flap, the great migration of multitudinous proportions, pure poultry in motion, has begun. Ducks of all breeds from the far north to the far south, from the east and west of the country, are winging their way to the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay, Wellington.
We do not subscribe to violence or anarchy, but rather, our protest will take the form of passive resistance. On the steps of that sacred place, the entrance to The Beehive, the place where all laws of this great country are made, we will flock. The sounds of the city will be drowned by our incessant raucous quackophony. The steps of parliament house will become splattered with our excretions, unavoidable to those attempting to enter this iconic building.
We anticipate attempts to remove us will ensue due to the inconvenience of our occupation. Contingency plans for that eventuality are in place. Our troops will simply flutter skywards and reposition on the ledges the ten-story high building provides until the danger passes. Then down we’ll swoop once again to occupy those steps.
We shall remain resolute in our revolt, clustered on those hallowed steps for as ever long as it takes to be heard. By fear means or fowl, we will be noticed, we will be heard. The archaic, outdated practice of shooting ducks, will be outlawed, confined to the history books, to the past forever.
The diabolical duck-a-thon, the stupendous sit-in, the feathered folly, call it what you may, has begun. Ducks from every corner of this country, have converged to the steps of the Beehive. Hunkered together in our hundreds, honking in unison, our mass occupation has begun.
At the break of day, politicians and their minions, attempt to enter the building. Cautiously, they duck and dive through the mass of feathered, raucous fowl, avoiding the gooey grey-white excrement splattered on the steps. In frustrated furry, some of the two-legs flap their bulky briefcases or wave their arms fitfully trying to swoosh us away. In our deduckation to the cause, we sit, ducks in a row (actually, several rows) in solidarity, each and every duck remaining stalwart. Donny Duck from Dunedin is the self-appointed conducktor to our honking symphony.
Throughout the morning, cars driving past, slow and gaze with puzzlement. Many honked their horns in support. At mid-day, a camera crew and reporter visit the site. A class of chattering children from a nearby school, visit. Squatting or standing, with sketch pads in their hands, they draw this incredible sight.
Late in the afternoon, a straggly group of older two-legs gather in front of the steps holding placards and chant, over and over ‘Ducks have rights, stop the slaughter!’
A guy with a megaphone strides to the front of the group and begins a new chant.
‘What do we want?’
‘An end to duck shooting.’ his comrades reply.
‘Why do we want it?’ megaphone guy continues.
‘Ducks deserve to live.’
‘How will we get it?’
‘Change the law.’
Gleefully, we flap our wings, waddle around, preen our plumage and honk in jubilation.
The news crew returns, cameras flash, and the chanting continues, long into the night.
At the quack of dawn, we’re awoken by a low rumbling sound on the street as two large red trucks cruise towards us. The trucks halt, men jump from the vehicles and begin unravelling hoses. The red-jacketed men position themselves along the hefty round tubes pointed in our direction – water blasts from the hoses. Hah, haven’t they heard that expression water off ducks back? Our wings flap and flutter, we hover above those shiny red vehicles, those red-coated men and we perform our morning ablutions. Soon, the trucks and the men are adorned with glistening white-grey splatters, and again, we occupy the now clean steps – the disgruntled red-brigade wind up their hoses and leave. Our placard-carrying comrades return in higher number, along with various news crews.
Throughout the morning, aroma’s from Bellamy’s kitchen from inside the Beehive, drift on the air, cruelly taunting our nostrils. Thoughts of politicians dining on Peking Duck, crispy duck, duck orange, duck pate, duck satay or spicy duck with apple sauce dampen the spirits of some amongst us. In an attempt to distract these sensitive souls from their dark thoughts, Davy Duck, our very own comedian cracks some jokes.
‘Here’s one,’ he quacks joyfully. ‘What do you call a gaggle of ducks in a box?’
‘A box of quackers!’
‘Why are ducks good at fixing things?’
‘They know how to use duck tape!’
‘What has webbed feet, fangs and wears a cape?’
Davy is a real quack-up.
But I digress. Our placard-carrying supporters, chant, and Dunedin Donny conduck’s with added vigour. The crescendo of the quackophony symphony heightens and cars on the street, honk their support.
The class of school children return, and waddling like ducks, they line up facing us ducks. The teacher positions herself in front of the children and raises her arm. Donny lowers his baton. We cease our honking.
‘Six little ducks that I once knew…
The innocent sound of young voices fills the air.
‘Down to the river they would go, wibble-wobble, wibble-wobble to and fro…
The children wibble-wobble on their feet, flap their arms, as camera crews zoom in, filming them. Our placard-carrying supporters sing along.
‘But the one little duck with the feather on his back, he led the others with a quack, quack, quack…
Cheerful, sweet tones and poignant words.
‘Quack, quack, quack. He led the others with a quack, quack, quack.’
The Minister for Conservation emerges from the sanction of the Beehive. The body of huddled feathers, part and form a pathway for the neatly attired Minister to descend the steps.
‘Back from the river, they came not,’ The sweet, innocent voices continued with gusto.
‘For by the hunter’s guns, the ducks were shot.’
Rolling cameras zoomed in on the children, standing still heads bowed in silence.
Our feathers ruffle, our webbed feet shudder.
Megaphone Man strides to the front, ‘What do we want?’
‘An end to legalised duck shooting.’ They wave their placards, punch the air with their free fist.
The Minister clears his throat. ‘Ahem. An emergency sitting of the House is scheduled for this evening to consider a new bill presented to the House. Furthermore, until a resolution is found, this years’ duck-shooting season is cancelled.’
The ducks clap their wings, the placard-carriers cheer loudly, and the children wibble-wobbled as they sing.
‘Home from the river they would come,
Wibble-wobble, wibble-wobble, ho-hum hum.’