engine, plus who doesn’t have something
of a soft spot for hardworking single moms?
Dad’s only contribution seemed to be quacking loudly from the water. Ed suffered no such
issues. His first thought was to throw her and
her feathered, squatting behind off the boat.
“Evict her?” I shrieked, wanting no part in
such bailiff bullying. This rising conversation
all took place less than three feet from the
duck, her privacy contained behind the canvas but her ears no doubt on full alert.
By now it was midafternoon, too late to
get to our anchorage before dark, and the
whole weekend’s plans were rapidly unraveling. I reasoned there’d be many more trips
where we could make up for lost time. Ed
silently fumed. But realizing there was no
budging Mrs. Duck (without looking to me
like a heartless animal hater), he desperately
scoured the Internet for solutions. We called
the ASPCA, consulted with others on the
dock, and asked colleagues about what we
might do to move the duck without sacrificing the family she seemed so determined to
raise. There were multiple suggestions, none
After several weekends spent sitting on
the boat at the dock, waiting for what seemed
like the longest gestation in history, we came
down one weekend and Mrs. Duck was gone.
The nest was still there, but it was clear those
eggs were not going to produce anything
other than Easter decorations. Before I could
make some other stalling suggestion, my hus-
band flew the boat out of the slip far faster
than was necessary. And the engine? It ran
like a breeze all summer.
There’s no moral to this tale, but we know
hundreds, if not thousands, of you are waging
your own battles with unwelcome visitors this
summer. If you’ve got a tip for keeping the
wildlife off your boat – and we don’t mean
the rowdy neighbors from Dock H – email
it to us and we’ll publish the best ones.
BIRDS: Drops, Not Quite Heavenly
Turns out an extended number of the bird
family are more than happy to take a perch, or
hover over your boat as though it had a flash-
ing neon restroom sign on it. When it comes
to outwitting them, the birdbrain tends to
belong to the humans. Some years ago, our
BoatU.S. Seaworthy insurance newsletter sent
out a call asking readers what they’d done to
discourage our feathered friends from choos-
ing their boat. The results, like the birds, were
large and varied. Unfortunately what seemed
to work great for one boater had little effect for
another, but clearly birds were a big problem.
West Marine sells 13 different items ranging
from tape that starts at $5, to bird-repelling
spikes ($20+), to a multi-speaker system that
emits prerecorded distress calls of geese and
runs on a loop every 10 minutes, for $150.
Also, here are some do-it-yourself ideas:
■ Stop feeding the birds. It might seem
obvious but when you throw seagulls or
other birds bread near your boat, they’ll
keep coming back. P H