Kara Jackson calls it “a Christmas miracle,” talking about the return of Duckie, her pet Muscovy duck, who left Southold about a month ago.
Ms. Jackson was in despair, thinking she’d never see Duckie again. “I felt completely awful,” she said. During the time Duckie had flown the coop, there were several major storms and she worried her duck was lost, out in the cold, unprotected and unfed. But she now says her prayers have been answered, with some help from the kindness of strangers and social media.
Every day she looked out her windows, hoping Duckie might find her way home. But day after day, no Duckie. She posted to social media and put up signs, hoping someone might spot Duckie, but the silence was deafening.
But the wayward duck had some luck. She had found her way from Southold across Peconic Bay and settled in Shelter Island’s Dering Harbor. Camille Anglin, who owns and operates Bridge Street’s Jack’s Marine on the harbor, spotted an unusual sight — a white duck with a red face.
Duckie made a home in the harbor for a few days and then Ms. Anglin saw she had moved to the wide waters of nearby Chase Creek.
She was true to form for her breed. According to the The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Muscovy ducks “are wary birds that feed by dabbling in shallow wetlands.” (How the unusual-looking fowl gained it’s name is in dispute, with some saying “Muscovy” comes from the bird’s voracious appetite for mosquitoes, while other say Muscovites, natives of Moscow, were the first to import the birds from Russia.)
Calm and peaceful Chase Creek was a safe haven for Duckie, but the intrepid duck next move was to an Island roadway where she might have perished beneath the wheels of a passing vehicle.
Enter daughter Kim Anglin Feierstein who spotted the duck and lured her away from the road with Rice Krispies Treats.
She subsequently brought her to the North Fork Animal Hospital in Southold where Dr. Daniel D’Amato recognized Duckie as a former patient. He was able to make the connection with Ms. Jackson’s social media posts that led to Duckie being reunited with her human family.
Duckie and her sister were once pets belonging to former neighbors of Ms. Jackson.
The two ducks would frequently visit Ms. Jackson to swim in a pond on her property.
When the neighbors moved to North Carolina a few years ago, it was only fitting that Ms. Jackson would become their new caretakers, a role she said she happily embraced.
But Duckie’s sister met a gruesome fate from a raccoon, leaving Duckie alone with the family. After her sister’s demise, Ms. Jackson thought Duckie might be happier with other ducks. She knew the Old Field Vineyards in Southold had ducks, so she brought her pet there.
But she hadn’t counted on Duckie’s homesickness.
Duckie soon took flight, but apparently took a wrong turn, ending up not with the Jackson family in Southold, but in the waters around Shelter Island.
Thanks to the Anglins, Dr. D’Amato and social media, Duckie is now back sitting in the sunshine on the deck of Ms. Jackson’s home. She’s enjoying regular meals, and contributes to the family by providing “beautiful eggs” that Ms. Jackson said make the fluffiest pancakes.
Photo caption: Home in Southold after a flight of fancy that took her from Southold to Shelter Island, Duckie is back where she belongs. (Kara Jackson photo)