They set out on a winter’s day, heading south. They’d had enough of winter with its cold winds, snow and ice. That was no way for a bird to live. Maxine fussed around packing her suitcase while mallard looked over the map one more time. South covered a lot of territory and he had to be sure he was leading the flock to good feeding grounds. He’d heard the Carolinas were nice in the winter. And all he had to do was follow the coastline. The marshes at the point of Cape Hatteras and further south on Core Banks were game refuges and his flock could bask in the warm sun while they fed on tiny shrimp and grains of beach grasses. He could hardly wait to start.
“Did you hear the weatherman? There is a nor’easter blowing on the Carolinas,” Maxine shouted from the bedroom.
“Drat. We will have to wait till that moves off shore to start, then,” Mallard called back to her.
“No way, Mallard Q. Duck. I am ready to go, and go we shall. Just lead us around it. We can skirt the edge and go on down to the Savannahs. They hardly ever have a storm down there,” Maxine said.
“What do you know of skirting around storms? That’s three hundred more miles and the Savannahs are open to hunters. We will be risking half the flock.”
“Not if we fly high enough. Those Rednecks are more about drinking beer than bagging a duck. We’ll be fine. Come on now, Mallard. Let’s get moving. I want to get there and tell Penny Quackers what I heard last night at the flap-a-thon about that hussy PinTail and that Coot from the Finger Lakes. And those poor ducklings . . .”
Mallard shook his head in dismay. Not only was it bad enough winter had come early this year, now he had to go three hundred miles out of the way and that meant three hundred miles more of listening to Maxine go on and on, gossiping with anyone that would listen to her. He folded that map and stuck it under his wing. Might as well get started and get it over with soon as possible.
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