Neighbourhood Story Corner, Fergus and the Ducks
Graham Creek was once a deeper, larger creek system that flowed through Leslie Park when it was farmland. It flowed to Graham Bay on the Ottawa River. As the Leslie Park community grew, the creek tributaries disappeared, and the main artery was funneled through culverts and buried underground in parts. It has been duck habitat for decades and they havecontinued to come to Graham creek for the winters.
In 2021, when we moved into the neighbourhood, we quickly discovered the ducks on our morning walks with Fergus, the dog. During the Covid lockdown, the creek and the green space were a particularly important part of our daily routine. This little oasis is so valuable to us as residents and invaluable to the animals. The ducks first show up sometime in December and leave in early spring (likely timed with the freezing and thawingof nearby farmers’ fields). In the winter months, there are usually about 60 ducks, but as high as 100, chilling in the creek.
Fergus was rescued 11 years ago. We’re not sure what breeds are in him, but he loves working and loves to carry ‘groceries’; he was, and remains, very treat motivated and we easily trained him to carry ‘groceries’: grocery bags, mittens, baguettes, hats, and now a Ziploc bag of bird feed.
The ducks have quickly learned that their morning crack (cracked corn) is carried by a dog who has absolutely no interest in them; he ignores them only wantingthe treat we give him when he drops the Ziploc bag at the edge of the creek. The ducks quack for anyone who clip clop over the bridge, but when Fergus, with the feed bag in his mouth, comes into their sight, the quacking is quazy.
Sadly we leave this neighbourhood in the Spring. We have enjoyed every moment here. It’s a wonderful neighbourhood and we will miss all the dog friends we have made in the last 2 years. I hope the ducks continue to find their way to Graham Creek.
—-Sue, Leslie Park neighbour
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