Why did the ANU duck cross the road?

One of the many things I love about ANU is that you’re among nature. My window looks out over Black Mountain, I cycle to work each morning past rosellas and magpies (dive-bombing ones, at this time of year), and the campus is full of ducks.*

Yesterday being a particularly rainy day, the ducks were happily taking over the campus. Because of the rain, I was driving rather than cycling, and as I wove through the campus, a duck stepped out onto the road in front of the car. Seeing me screetch to a halt, its friends decided to follow. Five minutes later, with a long line of cars behind me, the final duck stepped onto the other kerb, and we proceeded on our way.

* The only other campus I know with as much wildlife is Wollongong Uni, where I did my training for admission as a lawyer. There are so many rabbits there you wonder whether their scientists are putting myxomatosis vaccine in the water.

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1 Response to Why did the ANU duck cross the road?

  1. Don says:

    I’ve studied at both ANU and Wollongong but for me Edith Cowan’s Joondalup campus wins in the wildlife stakes.

    I had an office that looked out on an unhealthy looking pond. In the evening the kangaroos would come out to chew on the well-watered lawns and the frogs would start up. The toilet at the back of the building was often alive with croaking frogs, many of which sounded uncannily like motorcycle engines. There were plenty of lizards too. When I lived on campus I had a gecko living in my flat.

    The birds were amazing. As well as the usual campus ducks there were owls, ravens, black cockatoos, and those Western Australian ring necked parrots. The ravens were outrageous. They used to go through the garbage bins and fly off with Kentucky Fried Chicken boxes and super-sized soft drink cups (which they used to drop on my building’s tin roof).

    I once parked my car overnight in a spot where spray painted graffiti read “creatures live here.” In the morning the bonnet was covered in possum droppings. It pays to read the signs.

    At night the place really came alive. I used to walk around in the hours before dawn and as well as the native frogs, roos and brush tails there were foxes and rabbits. One night I was walking into the breeze and had a fox walk right by me.

    The whole Joondalup campus and town centre was a new development carved out of the scrub. In a few years the cats, dogs and cars will probably have killed or driven out the more interesting critters.

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