Instead of watching Dr. Phil or Oprah, people should look to waterfowl when it comes to relationship advice. Allow me to make my case.
90% of all birds are monogamous, meaning that they mate for life, and waterfowl are no exception. Waterfowl fall under one of two categories when it comes to pairing up and breeding. Geese and swans form monogamous pairs while ducks form seasonal bonds, in which male and female pair up for one season to raise a brood of ducklings (although some seasonal monogamy and repairing have been observed in sea and cavity nesting ducks). Either way, the birds seemingly have us whipped when it comes to "divorce" rates, especially when it comes to us U.S. citizens who bear a staggering 50% rate of divorce.
Now that I have provided all the scientific mambo-jumbo, I'd like to share an experience with you that I had this past weekend, for it is the reason that I've been thinking about this whole waterfowl and relationships topic.
Following our turkey hunt this past Saturday (read "The Link Between Two Souls") my father had to make a trip into town for a meeting, while I headed back to my own place. A few minutes into my drive my dad called and told me I had better drive over by Fischer Law Offices with my camera. He said it was a shot I wouldn't want to miss out on, even though it would be the saddest thing I'd seen in quite a while.
I arrived to the location he had indicated at about 9:00 AM, and there on the muddy boulevard between the sidewalk and a four lane highway stood a lone drake mallard. At his feet lay his fallen mate, a hen who had obviously been struck by a car. There was no doubt in my mind that the bird was dead, judging by the amount of blood on the road that followed her to that final resting place. Without so much as a quack or a murmur, the drake just stood there - a testament to loyalty, faithfulness and undying love.
To top it all off, my girlfriend and I drove past this same spot at 4:30 that afternoon. There, sitting in solitude next to the hen's cold corpse, remained the drake mallard.
We could all learn a lot about relationships from this one little duck. He and his mate likely both lived through tough times (braving harsh winters, flying thousands of miles during migrations, wetland loss and increasing predation amplified by a growing human population) just as we humans experience difficulties in our own relationships. Yet we people often fail to overcome obstacles because we lose sight of what these ducks valued - having common goals, adjusting to deal with an ever changing world, and staying by your partners side through thick and thin.
Lesson of the day - love like the duck, and a little less like the typical human.