It started innocently enough. Our family of four, watching a soon-to-be mama bird build a nest for her new family, nestled between the roof overhang and the downspout…

We delighted in the advent of new life in our yard. And Brent hurried outside to reload the bird feeder.

But then Spring took a more sinister turn last weekend. With the discovery of this:

Suddenly I remembered I’m not such a nature lover afterall.

Need another look? 

Lest you think that’s my brave husband’s hand holding our little friend (any guesses as to what kind of snake this is?), let me assure you that it’s not. Most definitely not. My husband has recurring snake dreams. Snakes are not his friend. This is my stepdad who was (thankfully) visiting for the weekend…just in time to play the part of snake charmer, er, killer.

And I kid you not, not an hour after finding that little guy my mom came in the house and said, “I think you guys didn’t find all of your Easter eggs.”


Apparently bizzaro spring animal day is about to get bizarro-er.   

Have I mentioned we live in a neighborhood? In the middle of a city?

In our quest to find out what we had on our hands (and in our yard) we did what all good and responsible parents would do…we sent out two year old outside with a stick.

My grandpa (visiting from California) declared this was the doing of a wild turkey. I was a little suspect seeing as how I’ve never seen a wild turkey other than the one we ate on Thanksgiving that was delivered fresh from Grow Alabama. But I once saw a coyote roaming our streets so stranger things certainly have happened.

B-Ro wasn’t convinced.

This clearly needed further review.

We spent the day wondering what might be growing inside those seven little eggs. We had someone standing watch by the front window until sundown.

But it wasn’t until the next morning that we would spot the mystery mama… 

Did you see her? Is that some amazing camouflage or what? It makes me wonder how long she’d been there, incubating her days away, unnoticed.

It’s been four days since we first discovered the duck who has taken up residence in our front yard. We’re so proud of them that we’re obsessively showing anyone who walks by. The neighbors (it takes a village, right?), the mailman, kids riding by on their bikes. And just this afternoon I caught Brent pointing out our duck family to the Fed Ex guy.

 This spring has been crazy people. I can’t handle any more nature. And I certainly can’t support anymore kids. So I’m putting all the wildlife out there on notice: no more procreating in my yard.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start nesting. I’ll soon by the housemother to septuplets.

Which leaves me shaking my head asking, “what the duck?”


*** It should be noted that I have recently been accused by Brent’s carpool buddy of planting the duck family in order to manufacture cuteness for blog purposes. Let the record show that I flatly deny said charges and, in fact, believe strongly that this blog’s cuteness lies chiefly in it’s human offspring and not it’s animal ones. Although the animal ones don’t hurt. And if it drives blog traffic, so be it. 😉


Libbi M.April 28, 2010 - 9:11 pm

love this! can’t wait to see pics of this newly hatched family. found your blog via the amazing karen russell. love your photos and style.

Lorena MoraApril 28, 2010 - 9:28 pm

How sweet is that. Can’t wait to see pictures once they hatch.

LaceyApril 28, 2010 - 9:34 pm

Unbelievable! The bird’s nest, okay. But then you toss in a snake. (ick!) And, a Mama-to-be duck sitting on a clutch of eggs in your yard??! Your blog is interesting enough without mother nature having to liven things up for you. (On a sidenote: I will admit to *maybe* looking forward to the baby duck photos in future post! :- D )

Daisy ReyesApril 28, 2010 - 9:54 pm

Loved this. So fun. And that camouflage was amazing. We’re still fighting winter off in Utah. Excited to follow the baby ducks.

PamApril 29, 2010 - 1:36 am

Birds and Ducks I can handle, snakes are another thing altogether. But you can take a pretty darn good photo of one I will say! 🙂 Between you and Karen I sure am feeling very lame in the photography department!

GramaApril 29, 2010 - 5:13 am

I’m so glad Mama Duck came back! I have been wondering and hoping she would despite me poking her little nest with a stick and grampa actually toucing one of the eggs to see if they were still warm! Yay!!! And I can also say they were NOT planted there by anyone other than that mama! I saw the looks on your and Brent’s faces when pointing them out to you!! Shock!

GramaApril 29, 2010 - 5:16 am

P.S. Better pull out “Make Way for Ducklings” again!

martha hernandezApril 29, 2010 - 5:33 am

oh Erin, you tell a story like no one else. love it. (except the snake part – ick). Brave stepdad you have there! love the duck photos, you make a duck look photogenic.

tara pollard pakostaApril 29, 2010 - 6:11 am

how FUN! that’s awesome!
I would love to see that in my yard.
it’s baby bunnies for us!

LaraApril 29, 2010 - 6:13 am

Awwww…that’s so cute, and what an incredible experience for the kids!

Debbie LApril 29, 2010 - 7:31 am

Your blog will have a whole new layer of cuteness once those baby ducks hatch!

rebecca brighamApril 29, 2010 - 7:39 am

You are one funny lady……. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JenniferApril 29, 2010 - 7:45 am

I love it! We’ve had Robin’s nests near our house that we’ve been fortunate enough to watch while little baby Robins being born, but never a duck. I would so love that!

amy emeryApril 29, 2010 - 9:09 am

too funny. love the narrative and the pics. cracking me up. especially about sending out the two year old, as any good mother would do. looks like you’re going to have quite the mother’s day (of every variety) around there! p.s. ummm, you can keep the snake.

Lovely Cee.April 29, 2010 - 9:17 am

it’s a garden snake, Erin:) and they are not poisonous but ewww… i hate snakes:( i have always wanted to see wild duck eggs and you lucky girl, they’re on your own yard:) just glad to know that they weren’t snake eggs- wouldn’t that be horrible?

LaurenApril 29, 2010 - 9:40 am

Cute~love the momma duck and her eggs! I thought for a minute that they might be snake eggs….I absolutely hate snakes – they scare me. Can’t wait to see the baby ducklings!

KristinApril 29, 2010 - 10:13 am

Planting or not the duck in your front yard certainly contributed to blog cuteness! especially when the B-Ro went at the eggs with a stick!!

I have been accused of scheduling activities for my family that I can blog about! I just look at it like my blog is making me a better mom because I want to have fun things to remember! Whether they go in a blog or not!

robinApril 29, 2010 - 1:19 pm

did i ever mention we had a reptile party for my daughter’s 3rd bday party? she would’ve been ALL OVER that snake. happily all over it.

can’t wait to see the little ducklings!

aunt May MayApril 29, 2010 - 1:22 pm

I love this post! so cute…you have your own little petting zoo…HOwever, I am highly offended by your language 😉

AmyApril 29, 2010 - 1:30 pm

Cracking up about you sending the two year old out with a stick to check on things. I can’t wait to see the little ducklings. I was excited to read on Karen’s site that you are going to do a video tutorial, yay! I’ve taken Karen’s photography class, and now I can’t wait to learn more about editing.

JenniferApril 29, 2010 - 2:40 pm

OMG I can hardly wait until these babies are born and we get to see the pics!!! I love ducks – they are just so cute!! I figured that we’d have more wildlife considering that we DO live in the country, but alas all I get are stray cats. Apparently word is out that I’m a sucker for them! And I’m with Brent – snakes are evil and vile creatures!!

kat-in-texasApril 29, 2010 - 3:49 pm

Funny! Grass snake, btw, says my son. I hate snakes too!

A duck laid 12 eggs at my friend’s house a couple of weeks ago–just hatched this week…using their in-ground facilities. I guess chlorine water doesn’t hurt them!!! We live in a suburb. Crazy.

Sarah KApril 29, 2010 - 7:09 pm

loved all this…my twins would love to see all that nature in their backyard…they love snakes and I love that they love them. My DH is scared silly of snakes and there is no way to know if their dangerous to not if you can’t get close…ditto what was said before, not dangerous, garter snake…good snake to have around to keep down the rodents.

can’t wait to see the babies

AngelaApril 29, 2010 - 7:36 pm

Dearest Erin….
You should really warn your darling blog readers when you’re about to post a photo or two of a snake…seriously…even your beautiful photography cannot make me want to even look at that photo…I am terrified of “little satans” as I call them. I still have the “heebey jeebeys” and shiver at the thought of your perfectly lovely photo of my biggest fear….

KariApril 29, 2010 - 7:43 pm

I’d say they are just smart Mama’s that want really cute pics of their kids…so where else to go, but Erin Cobbs house!!

adminApril 29, 2010 - 8:24 pm

Oops…sorry for not warning about the snakes! But if I’d warned you, you’d never have seen the adorable duck, right?! So the ends justify the means. 😉

I can’t wait for our new babies!

Kristy Klaassen PhotographyApril 30, 2010 - 12:09 am

Hahah! You’re a scream! LOVE it – thanks for the late night chuckle!! 🙂

JodiApril 30, 2010 - 7:01 am

I’m with Angela! And for the record, cute photos of ducks to NOT justify photos of snakes! Brent, we’ll have to compare notes on scary snake nightmares.

AmyApril 30, 2010 - 12:49 pm

That is the coolest thing ever! What an awesome find. . . can’t wait to see when the little babies hatch!

blissmamaof3April 30, 2010 - 1:22 pm

I’m no nature girl either, I can totally relate.

DanielleApril 30, 2010 - 7:02 pm

Love it! And it was so fitting to see this post and show my daughter since we just found out about this eagle nest (http://hornbyeagles.com/webcam.htm) and are watching the eggs hatch – even cooler that you get to see it right in your yard though! Can’t wait for the baby ducky pics!

AngelaApril 30, 2010 - 7:34 pm

Nope, posting the photo of the cute duck doesn’t make the photo of the snake any better….although the duck is cute, but truly I was so freaked out by the snake that I almost scrolled through 2 posts to just get away from it…thus, the first time I totally missed the duck. I know, I’m a freak (about snakes that is)

I do love your blog and your photography and look forward to tutorials regarding editing. Have a lovely weekend with your family!

J.J.April 30, 2010 - 8:24 pm

Around here, the neighborhood kids all hunt for snakes in the spring! (Love that Alla’s best friends are boys!)

We’ve had bunnies (OMG have you ever seen baby bunnies – like a ten on the cuteness scale) and robin eggs.

Can’t wait to see your new babies!

TeresaMay 3, 2010 - 10:32 am

Adorable. In south Huntsville we had a Mama duck nesting under my son’s window last spring, but as adorable as they are, they are surprisingly noisy. I found him sleeping on the living room couch on several mornings because the noise drove him from his own bed.

Debbie KMay 3, 2010 - 7:10 pm

Lovin’ your blog Erin….and your beautiful photography. Unlike some other scaredy cats in your comments ( 🙂 )I marvelled at the snake pictures. However, here in Australia you don’t dare get close to a snake otherwise it could be curtains before you could say “WTD”.

mandyMay 4, 2010 - 7:31 pm

You are kidding me! Did that duck follow you guys home from Big Spring one day?
It happened to “Olivia” (the pig) once!

SoonMarch 3, 2015 - 1:18 am

I’ve been reading this blog for a excellent when. Keep up the amazing job you are doing here.

ten on tuesday. » The PigBearMay 4, 2010 - 11:30 am

[…] May Duck Alert: Our mama duck is still nesting happily. My mom did a bit of research and discovered that the gestational period […]

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