migrating ducks

The Migrating Ducks



form suppose formation
flock migrate overhead
wade insect approach
stroll notice (2) resume (2)
pond slender take off (2)
frolic snack snack stand
bench munch period (2)
peck bug (2) at once (2)
grass gobble overnight
toss ground previous
due to weed (2) throw away
growl go on (2) for a while
hobble familiar notice (2)
wing take on (2) hang around
air ascend throw-threw-thrown
flap land (2) skywards



“I wonder why ducks fly in a V-formation,” Travis said to his friend, Al.

“Who knows,” Al replied. “I suppose they are following the leader. The duck in the front leads the rest of the group and helps keep everyone together.”

The two had been watching flocks of ducks migrating north in a city park that spring Saturday. Every day at this time, hundreds flew overhead through the city.

Rest Stop

Frequently, the ducks would stop and rest in the park’s pond. There they would wade in the water, catching and eating weeds and insects.

When they had rested overnight, the ducks would take off and resume their journey the next day.

One sunny afternoon, Travis and Al were strolling in the park. They sat on a bench and watched some ducks frolicking on the pond.


“My stomach is growling,” said Al.

And so they went over to a nearby snack stand. Al bought a vanilla ice-cream cone, while Travis got a bag of popcorn. They returned to the bench and began munching.

While most of the ducks swam about in the pond, one came on land and walked around, pecking the ground for seeds or bugs.


“Oops!” cried Travis as some popcorns fell from his hand onto the grass.
“You’re grabbing and eating too much popcorn at once,” said Al.

The duck immediately came over to the bench and gobbled up the fallen popcorns.

“Wow. He really likes popcorn,” said Travis.
“I think he’s just hungry — look at how slender it is,” said Al. It’s probably due to all that flying.”

Feeding Birds

And so Travis dropped a few more popcorn to the duck. He quickly devoured them as well.

Soon, a couple other ducks came out of the water and hobbled over to the bench.

Travis alternated between eating his popcorn and tossing them to the ducks.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Return

The following week, Travis returned to the park bench — alone this time — with two bags of popcorn.

Migrating ducks were resting on the pond. Travis grabbed some popcorn from one bag and tossed them on the ground.

Once again, some ducks came over and began gobbling them. Those from the previous day had gone; these had just landed a few hours ago.

Old Bread

Travis began coming to the park every weekend. Now he brought old bread from home.

As he was feeding the ducks one afternoon, a man approached him.

“Say, would you like more bread for your ducks?” he asked Travis. “I’ve got a bakery near here, and I have to throw away lots of old, unsold bread.”
“Why, sure,” answered Travis.

And so Travis came to the pond almost every afternoon when school ended with several sacks of bread and fed the ducks. Moreover, other people began doing the same thing.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Some Observations

After this had been going on for a while, Travis noticed several things.

One was that the number of ducks increased in number.

And second, he began to see familiar faces. Previously, every group of ducks would fly away after a few hours or one day at most . . . now some were spending three or four days at the pond.

More ducks were hanging around for longer periods of time before taking flight and continuing their flight.

Soccer Balls, Basketballs

Not only that, but those who stayed the longest were beginning to take on the shape of the balloons carried by children in the park.

“Alright, Tom, Bill, Sue, Kate, Paul . . . it’s time for you to leave and continue your journey north,” Travis said to a group of ducks that had been in the park the longest.

So he picked “Paul” up and threw him into the air.

Paul flapped his wings rapidly . . .

But instead of ascending skywards, he landed back on the ground.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Travis and his friend knew exactly why ducks flew in V-formations. Is this correct or wrong?

2. What were the ducks doing in the beginning of the story? What was their goal? Was their ultimate destination the park pond? Why did they stop at the pond?

3. Al and Travis bought snacks to feed the ducks. True or false? Were the ducks eager to devour the popcorn? Why were they eager?

4. What did Travis do the following week? Did Travis enjoy feeding the ducks? Did he only feed them popcorn?

5. Did the situation remain the same, or did it change? How did things change? What was happening?

6. What will happen in the future?

7. Is there a moral or lesson to this story?


A. Can you give some examples of this from real life?

B. Why have social welfare or charity arisen? What are the pros or positive aspects of public assistance (social welfare)?

C. Are there any cons or negative aspects of charity or social welfare?

D. What will happen in the future?

E. How can the situation be solved or improved?


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