We adopted Quacky the duck in 2016 with several siblings, and they all enjoyed living in our pond...but after 6 months or so it got cold and they flew away. Life went on, and we wished them well. About 1 1/2 years later, in September 2018, suddenly we saw Quacky and a partner living by the river. I walked the dogs most every day by the river, so noticed them right away; they were friendly and content.
In October I happened to be in the living room holding my camera with the telephoto lens and took the photo below just after a man shot Quacky's partner. It is legal to shoot a duck from the river even if it is on someone's property. Charlie later posted on facebook about it. For 3 months, Quacky was there by the river, watching, refusing to leave the river. We put a sign nearby that said, "PET DUCK, PLEASE DO NOT SHOOT."
After trying for months, finally we lured Quacky to the relative safety of our pond. Then he started coming up to the house to visit, and would always answer back in the morning. Another year and a half passed, Quacky was photographed with our family, with pageant girls, children and dogs.
We always called the duck 'him' until the spring of 2020 when I saw Quacky with 4 baby ducklings in the pond near the river! Then there were 2 ducklings...there are many predators...they went to our closer-in pond... Then the next day there was only one duckling:( It was awful, after so long and Quacky becoming a parent, it was heartbreaking. There were many big bullfrogs in the pond, and it turns out they eat ducklings. So we did all we could to keep the baby safe, including praying, and halleluiah, one grew to adulthood and looks just like Quacky!
Our neighbors will watch over them, and hopefully the new homeowners!