Some mornings and evenings for the past several weeks I couldn't help but notice a female duck just standing in the middle of my back yard. This seemed to draw the interest of at least one of the neighborhood cats, but it seemed to keep a cautious distance and I never saw anything that would have lead me to believe that there had been or would be any sort of confrontation.
This evening I was mowing the lawn and doing some minor yard and outside work when I spotted her at home, sitting, staring back from a cozy nook amongst the grape vines.
Now that I know her secret hiding place I'll keep a respectful distance and make an effort to put out a shallow pan of water - something that will likely be helpful once her clutch hatches.
As for the neighborhood cats: I'm afraid that she's on her own to do what she can to protect them!
(What's a duck doing here, away from any real source of water, anyway?)
The duck sat for a few weeks more but alas, at about hatching time it seems likely that one of the neighborhood cats (not mine, since they live inside) took advantage of the situation explaining the presence of scattered egg shells and the complete lack of feathers and mother duck.