March 21, 2016 - “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…” Jeremiah 1:5
My brother John lives in Huxley, Texas (Pop. 218) on one of the most beautiful spots on Toledo Bend Lake. Several years ago he turned his RV Park and surrounding area into a haven for birds and other wildlife. One of the most interesting spots on his land is a wet marshy area adjacent to the lake that he appropriately calls “The Duck Pond”.
Pam and I drove down one day to photograph the wood ducks that come daily to the pond. As I sat in John’s photo blind, I noticed a snake’s head protruding from one of the duck boxes. Soon afterwards the hen flew in and began nervously flying to and from the box but never entering it. She finally dropped into the box and perched right on top of the coiled-up snake. After moment or so, she reappeared briefly in the opening of the box and then squealed away.
When I reported what I’d seen to John, he quickly grabbed a ladder and we drove down to confront the intruder. While I stood at the bottom of the ladder, John screwed the top off the box and peered inside. Sure enough, a huge chicken snake was in the process of swallowing its fourth duck egg. A stiff jab with a stick sent him straight into John’s face spraying him with egg juice as the snake dropped writhing at my feet. It was the largest chicken snake we’d ever seen…and one of the quickest.
We were concerned that the duck might not return to her nest, but when John climbed the ladder the nest morning and asked, “Duckie, are you in there?” she exploded from her nest and flew into the open lake.
It’s comforting to know the little hen is back in her nest again and that she didn’t use the snake as an excuse to abandon her eggs. I’m also glad that our mothers didn’t take us from her nest before we were born.