IOWA CITY — Ace Hardware on North Dodge Street has a plethora of perennials in front of its shop. But squeezed in among the posies is something fowl, a duck that employees named Lucy.
She showed up about two weeks ago, claiming a flat of impatiens for herself. Folks say ducks have been nesting in the area for years but never quite like this.
“She’s kind of become the celebrity of the neighborhood,” Ace Hardware manager Mitch Meis said.
Meis said Lucy was found after she frightened folks looking through his flora.
To keep from further ruffling feathers, a sign has been added above her home. But, now that people know she’s here, they’re stopping in all the time.
“Oh look at her! She’s so tame. She doesn’t mind if we’re here,” customer Ellyn Paulus said.
Lucy isn’t the best host and is in no mood to entertain. Why? Employees tell us Lucy is a mother. She’s sitting on top of about 10 eggs. That fact has some making sense of her peculiar nesting spot.
“I think to keep away from predators … cats … Well, a cat could still get up there. But she’s up high,” employee Karen Disbrow said.
Besides cats, this mallard mama will have little else to worry about. People are pampering her with squirts from the hose.
“She doesn’t like drinking from the bowl,” employee Sam Kunc said.
And they’ve created a private swimming pool.
Nobody’s certain just how long Lucy will stay.
“They have a tendency to be kind of repetitious about where they nest, so she may be back next year,” Disbrow said.
Wildlife officials say mallards are more adaptable than other types of ducks.
And if she returns, there will be no rent on this bird’s bill.
Disbrow says a customer bought the flowers Lucy is nesting in to make sure she stays put and Ace isn’t out any money.