Student Blog: 'Never mind Brexit, we're off!', says Mother Duck

DucksEvery year, a duck (of Christ Church Meadow provenance) decides to make Brasenose its home, using our Middle Quad (known as the Deer Park) as a nursery to raise her ducklings before they return to their ancestral home. However, this year was different; our ambitious Library and Cloisters project had turned Deer Park temporarily into a construction site, leaving the Brasenose duck and her ducklings very confused indeed. They were left wandering around college, tired and distressed. 

The task of repatriating the ducks fell upon a gaggle of finalists in search of procrastination- we began by trying to herd them across High Street to safety. Herding ducks is only marginally easier than herding cats, and we quickly realised that crossing the road would be too distressing for them. A phone call to the RSPCA revealed that we just had to get on with it- trapping them in some sort of container was the only way. After an hour of trying to coax the duck into an empty bin, we decided to use the nuclear option - herding them into a staircase on Old Quad first. The ducklings happily hopped into a cardboard box once their mother had flown to the kitchen at the top of the stairs, shortly before she too was captured by Joel, a porter of many talents. We walked them over to Christ Church, much to the amusement of tourists who could hear them cheeping from the boxes.

Rumour has it that the ducklings settled into their new home very well, and are preparing their glorious return to Brasenose next summer, when Deer Park will be ready for them once more.

The story is taken up by French Tutor, Carole Bourne-Taylor whose room is on Staircase 10 on Old Quad: “I can explain something of the background to this. Every year Mother Duck has brooded over her ducklings in the window box outside my room; every springtime, I peer excitedly from behind my curtains to see at close range the progress of her confinement. Confinement is hardly the word, though; she comes and goes without trace. Through the eye (and ears) of my retrospect I hear her tapping at my room door each morning as she seeks to get to her nest; I open the door; she nods and waddles to the bench seat by the sill. I open the window and up she flops. Not true. But I’ve never seen her flight into the window box. If you look at the photos closely, you can see just how comfy she makes herself. We now need someone to complete the story: did anyone see the actual eggs or, indeed, their College admissions procedure?”

by Siddarth Shrikanth, Jessica Freedman & Carole Bourne-Taylor and with special thanks to Alison Jones

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