By Vladimir Brezina
This happens often. The bird—around here, it’s usually a Canada goose or a mallard duck—will just sit there until the last possible moment, not quite believing that this is happening…
Then it will take off. But more often than not, especially on a narrow river, it will land just a short distance in front, still in the path of the kayak. And a minute or two later the entire performance will repeat… One time I had a duck repeat its escape, with greater and greater exasperation, seven or eight times in a row until it finally got the message that it should circle round and land behind the kayak.
(We usually try to paddle around the birds if we can, especially in winter when they need all their energy. But when there are birds sitting everywhere on the water, it’s hard to avoid them all.)
Ducks do seem to be relatively slow learners. Gulls, on the other hand… By now we have a pretty good idea of the distinct ways in which different bird species interact with passing paddlers. But that’s material for another post… ;-)