Little Ducky Daddle–proof!

The actual Little Ducky Daddle

People have searched for this ducky for years, particularly people who heard their parents sing the delightful tune, “Little Ducky Daddle” so many years ago.


“Little Ducky Daddle, went wading in a puddle, wading in a puddle quite small.

“Said he it doesn’t matter, how much I flap and flatter, I’m just a little ducky after all!”

Here, on the Arrington Lagoon at scenic Northwestern University deep in the heart of Evanston, the actual Little Ducky Daddle of the popular poem/song was sighted just a week ago.

Mr. Daddle, obviously a loner, was swimming way ahead of his counterparts.

At this point, a cheaper journalist than I would pretend to have interviewed Daddle and collected nuggets of duck wisdom. Lots of imaginary quotes about the benefits of swimming and the glory of bottom feeding. The bird would be called “Mr. Daddle” in all second references. Mr. Daddle would talk about the glories of wading “in a puddle quite small” and the author would search for metaphors about the limitations of life and how, in truth, we are all “wading in a puddle quite small” in our own special ways.

Truth telling here.

It’s a nice little song but ducks simply can’t do anything but quack and swim around in a very entertaining way and leave poop that looks like miniature Tootsie Rolls on the lawn. And who can say what that quacking actually means?

I learned this lesson long ago at the Altoona Mirror when I interviewed a collection of pigeons to see what they thought of downtown development. It was early in my career and I am embarrassed to admit it these days.

The story ran under the headline :”Downtown Pigeons Pushed to the Brink!”

It served one purpose. People in the newsroom who already thought I was an arrogant snot, a pretentious writer and a fabricator of all kinds of fantasies were justly reenforced.

I reveled in the glory of that indictment. The Mirror editor thought it was great, a nice treatment of a subject that never got enough attention, pigeon shit all over the place wherever they nested. This is a truth I could not slip into the paper because it contained the word “shit.” He praised me, said there was no future in journalism and recommended I try to get a job with Pennsylvania Bell as a flack.

I was punished for my ludicrous pigeons story years later when I had to clean a pigeon infestation from the eaves of a house we were renting. To this day, that was the most disgusting job I have done, and I have had some disgusting tasks in my long life. I tried shooting them with a BB gun and actually hit a few.

But after many attempts, I had to climb up a 40 foot ladder and just drag them out with my hands. They do build their nests of sticks and poop.


Anyhow, don’t let anyone tell you they can talk to ducks, unless, of course, it is another duck.

For himself, Mr. Daddle had nothing to quack about and just paddled away. As for me, I went to the phone company to get a job but they rejected me because I didn’t have a college degree. That was fortunate because I went on to have a fabulous career that took me all around the world, paid my family bills, and kept me from ever writing stupid bird stories again.

Except for this one, which is part of my occasional “Duck of the Day” story.

4 thoughts on “Little Ducky Daddle–proof!

  1. No such thing as a stupid bird story, imo. If you tire of ducks, there are pelicans that visit wetlands in the Cook County forest preserves. They’re a sight. Happy birding.


  2. Thank you for my first smile of the day! Except the pigeon nest cleaning- gag!
    Keep the ducks coming!


  3. And the Altoona Mirror has writers who don’t even use proper English ! So happy you moved along.


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