by Dillon Ripley
A Paddling of Ducks was written by a man passionate about waterfowl. From a young age he always wanted to have a duck pond of his own- and he did just that, building enclosed ponds and over the years keeping a wide variety of ducks and some geese. He traveled afar with other duck enthusiasts to collect eggs and find specimens- sometimes to try and bring home live ducks, other times to shoot them (enjoying a roast duck dinner) and at other times simply relishing at seeing a certain species in the wild. Most interesting to me was reading about his efforts to raise ducks, and a few anecdotes of duck behavior. I had just read in Sandy that bantam hens make the best foster mothers for baby cranes, and here Ripley advocates the same hen for hatching ducklings, explaining why bantams are better than incubators, or other hen breeds. Unfortunately, I am not really crazy about ducks, just mildly curious about them, so a lot of this book was rather dry reading. There are pages and pages describing the geographic distribution of the many different duck species, their migrating patterns, how they are related to each other, how the plumage of the ducklings varies, and particularly, enthusiastic descriptions of their beautiful colors. The book is graced by many fine black-and-white line drawings by Francis Lee Jaques, but without any titles to the pictures, I often had no idea which duck I was looking at. I wished for some color illustrations, and ended up looking up a few of the more spectacular-sounding or oft-mentioned ducks online, including the author's favorite eider duck, and the presumed-extinct pink-headed duck. If you know someone who loves ducks, this book would be an excellent read. For me, it was just piddling.
I read this book for the TBR Challenge.
Rating: 2/5 ........ 256 pages, 1957