The Case of the Missing Decoys
LOCATION: Cordova Ranger Station
RANGER REPORT: Duck decoys moved (flown the coop)
DESCRIPTION: One harlequin and one redhead
“What’s a decoy?” I asked.
“They’re these fake ducks that you set in the water, like a pond or lake. They’re weighted down so that when ducks flying overhead see them, they think ‘oh! friends!’ They fly down and nearby, you’re standing there with your gun so then BOOM! You got ’em!”
April Fools Day was just the day before, and besides collaborating with another intern to throw a paper plane at one of my coworkers, the day was, for the most part, prankless.
The next day however…
“Where are my ducks?!?”
Despite being down the hall, I could hear the question clearly. I poked my head out the doorway and heard my name mentioned. “Huh?” I called out. I walked towards the other office where I see my coworker Melissa standing in her office frantically looking through her desk.
“Did you move them as a prank?” she says, laughing.
Puzzled, I reply, “Something’s missing?”
“Two of my duck decoys are missing. They were on my table and now, they’re gone. Someone moved them and I know you and Ferdinand like to play pranks.”
Laughing, I say “No, that wasn’t us!” Though that would’ve been a good prank, I thought aside.
“You know who it could’ve been? Jim! Or Bobby.” Danielle speculates. Melissa hastily picks up her phone and dials. “Jim? Hey, did you come up to my office earlier? Anytime today? No? It’s because two of my duck decoys are missing!” Melissa listens for a couple seconds, then bursts out laughing. Later, I hear footsteps jogging down the hallway, as someone simulates a siren whee – do – whee – do. Sounds like someone’s on the case.
And since we’re on the topic, Cordova is a wonderful place to see these birds. There are all kinds that swim, dabble and fly around here. There is the ever-present mallard, buffleheads, red-breasted mergansers, scaups, wigeons, green-winged teals, harlequin ducks and more. When I was tasked with creating a birding cheat sheet for Orca Road, I learned a lot about how to identify these birds in the way they look and behave. For instance, buffleheads dive underwater to catch aquatic invertebrates whereas a Great Blue Heron will stand like a statute until suddenly it’ll thrust its bill into the water when it spots a fish unawares.
Back to the case.
Throughout the rest of the day, I heard people propose probable culprits. Even Smokey, a coworker’s border collie, wasn’t spared. At one point, Bobby, owner of said border collie, went on the intercom and announced to everyone that Melissa’s duck decoys were gone, described their appearance and told everyone to keep a look out for them. Once in a while, someone would stop by Melissa’s office and remark, “I heard about your ducks.”
Although Melissa is saddened that her two duck decoys are missing, I thought it sweet that people all around her were expressing, well, mostly their amusement, but also some concern and wishes for the ducks’ safe return.
As for me, I entertained the idea that the ducks have flown away to freedom, no longer wishing to partake in the scheme to trick their living counterparts to a hunter’s gun.
STATUS UPDATE: 1700 hours Ducks remain at large