Looking Back: A Year without Flapper
We are fast approaching the 1-year anniversary of the peaceful passing of my sweet baby boy, Mr Flapper Duck. I cannot believe it has been a whole year without him, but what a year it has been.
Each day I am thankful for the many, many ways in which Flapper changed my life for the better. If I had never met my awesome little fluffy guy, I would have missed out on the amazing reconnection I’ve made to nature, and the wonderful world I’ve discovered since being “inside the flock.” This conversation with George the goose is just one example.
I know most people will never understand or appreciate how cool it is to be trusted by a bird or flock and invited into their world. Most people assume that just because they don’t understand the complexity of flock life, that birds must just be dumb or simple. But every time I listen to someone drone on about their cell phone bill or complain about traffic, I can’t help but wonder who the dumb one really is.
Birds are at least as emotional as dogs and cats, if not more. Because of the complexity of their flock structure, they need strong social skills to keep their position in the pecking order. And they’re great conversationalists.
If not for Flapper, I would never have had the opportunity to know and love a baby turkey. Persephone Kerfuffle was such an amazing little life, and I’m grateful every day to have known her for her short time on Earth. What a great kid she was.
This year also brought other new birds our way. Little Mickey the rescued pigeon only spent a few days with us, but we learned how to properly feed and care for him by listening carefully and asking for help from our network of bird friends. I often hear my fellow animal activists say they are “giving a voice to the voiceless” when they work for animal rights. But to me, animals are speaking loud and clear, we’ve just forgotten how to listen. Having Flapper in my life awakened me to all the conversations that go on every day that are too often drowned out by the hustle and bustle of suburban city life. I’ll never forget how Mickey looked at me with confusion until I figured out how to properly feed him. He was communicating so clearly, and because of my experience with Flapper and other birds over the years, I was finally able to listen and learn. I couldn’t help but figure it out because I had to get him to stop looking at me with a confused expression!
After a year, I can honestly say that my experience and friendship with Flapper was unique. He trusted me so much and was so comfortable around me that it really was special. While every other bird has the same capacity and complexity as Flapper had, none have been as open and completely at ease as he was with me. O’Malley comes pretty close, and I love the big dinosaur, but Flapper was just at ease and at peace whenever I was around. It was truly a privilege to know him and I will be forever grateful for how that fluffy little guy had me turn left in life and appreciate the beauty all around me.
Even today, I still get notes and emails about Flapper, which surprises me. I know how special he was to me, but I’m still caught off guard when someone else connects with him through his blog or YouTube videos. Here’s a note we received yesterday from a couple in Greece:
“We are a couple who adores ducks …maybe more than usual.
Since 10 days or more, we discovered this flapper material on YouTube and we got crazy with this guy!
Every day we both played some of your flapper videos.
He became our mascot.
We’re sooooooo sad that we just heard he is no longer in life.
We felt like this little guy was our own.
Best wishes to you.
Keep upload your duck in videos.
He was our best!”
That note made my day. It’s been nearly a year without Flapper now, but it has been a very special year and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Quacks and clucks,
Tiff and the flock