I couldn’t tell from afar. What was that white blurred object with the guy lounging on the grass?
Could it be? Yes, it was. Mr. Huey himself.
Mr. Huey is Winnipeg’s “duck about town” made famous when he appeared in a CBC video with his owner Nikki Cox on July 24. I met him at the little park attached to Millennium Library, one of his favourite haunts.
He’d been for a splash in the library water feature and was sprawled on Cox’s chest basking in the sun and drying off. The duck seemed deeply relaxed and very comfortable.
His, or is it her – you can’t tell with ducklings – beak roamed constantly around Cox’s face; up one nostril, then the next. In one ear, in the other; always making little chittering movements as if it were looking for insects.
Is that something ducks do when they groom each other? I did try to ask a duck expert but the Humane Society doesn’t have much experience with ducks, and Wildlife Rehabilitiation Centres aren’t set up for domestic animals.
Mr. Huey is a Pekin Duck which is the most popular commercial duck breed in the United States. The breed originated in China which explains the name change to Peking Duck in Chinese restaurants.
Cox has vowed many times his duck will never meet that fate; and after meeting Huey, well, he’s just too cute. He’s also grown a lot in just over a month.
In the CBC video he was covered in pale yellow down. The down has been replaced by real white feathers and his feet are now huge.
It must be his much lauded diet of VJ’s french fries and watermelon contributing to this growth spurt.
“He doesn’t like his seed much, he’d rather have scrambled eggs with tomato for breakfast,” said Cox. The duck will eventually reach 8-11 pounds and it looked like he’d already gained a bit.
The Pekin duck is bred for food so the wings are just too small for them to fly. They aren’t able to get lift off.
After hanging out with him for a while and watching him interact with Cox, it was apparent this duck has personality. Cox said he’s very protective and will peck any other animals around him.
Mr. Huey is obviously deeply imprinted and very loyal which is a characteristic of this type of domestic duck. It was probably the last time I’d see them around Millenium Library this summer as they’ve now moved out to the lake.
Yes, Mr. Huey is summering at the lake. No more living in a cheap downtown hotel and eating VJ’s french fries. I’m sure he’ll enjoy getting out of the city. It’ll be interesting to catch up with him in a year or so.