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Lucie Lou and The Empty Nest

Lucie Lou – duckling

Barnaby – dad owl  / Tilly – mum owl / Bee Bee – baby owl


There was a strange quietness on Acorn Crescent on the morning of 27th January. The residents were starting to wake up and they were immediately aware of the lack of usual noises in the crescent. It was easy to see why, since there were no traffic sounds today. A layer of crisp snow had blanketed the whole area overnight.

Lucie Lou the duckling had been snuggled up in her warm nest when she awoke. She lifted her head and a large snowflake landed on her beak; ‘it feels a bit chilly’ she thought as she started to stretch her wings and opened her eyes slowly, as she does every day. Today a beautiful sight lay in front of Lucie; a sparkling white layer of ice and fresh snow coated the duck pond which surrounds the small island where she lives.

“Wow! How magical!” said Lucie Lou, talking to herself as she quickly climbed out of her nest and twirled round and round making lovely patterns in the snow. ‘This is such fun’ she thought as she hummed a tune while skating across the pond.

The happy duckling couldn’t resist playing and skating, completely losing track of time until she had a pang of hunger. Unusually she had forgotten to eat breakfast. Remembering there was something juicy to eat in her nest Lucie began to skate home.

Although there were a number of nests around the duck pond, Lucie Lou knew exactly which was hers. However today she was puzzled as to why she couldn’t see it; all the nests appeared to be occupied!

As she drew closer she could see another duck sitting on her cosy nest. ‘How rude!’ she thought to herself, but then she realised the duck looked exhausted. Its feathers were tatty as if she had flown for hundreds of miles. As it stretched its wings Lucie Lou could see several eggs in the nest beneath her.
‘Oh I just can’t ask her to leave – not if she has little one’s hatching any day. I will have to make a new nest for myself’ thought Lucie.

Forgetting her hunger Lucie Lou set to work collecting twigs that had fallen down from the weight of snow. She saw some lovely feathers clinging to a low branch, but every time she tried to tug them with her beak they wouldn’t move, ice had frozen them to the branch. She tried flapping her wings frantically taking a run and jump at the feathers squawking loudly as she did so.

Owl Barnaby Toots and his daughter Bee-Boo heard the commotion from their perches in the old oak tree and went to investigate.

“Good morning Lucie Lou. Are you having trouble?” Barnaby called out.
“Hi Barnaby and Bee-Boo! Yes, you could say that” replied Lucie. She explained about the newcomer in her nest and how she was trying to collect feathers, twigs and moss to make a new one. Barnaby said what a lovely kind thing she was doing, and that in turn she should be shown kindness too.
“We have lots of spare feathers you can have.” Said Barnaby. “We have moss and twigs too; we will fetch them for you at once.“ added Bee-Boo.

The owls set off back to their own nest where they explained what all the noise was about to Barnaby’s wife Tilly.
“How thoughtful of Lucie Lou” she said, “take her my special little down feathers I have been collecting. They will keep her extra warm. I have a little basket you can put it all in”.

Barnaby and Bee-Boo set off back to the pond where they saw Lucie Lou on the island beginning to make her new nest with the twigs she had gathered. They flew down on to a bush and called out in unison:
“Special Delivery for Lucie Lou!”
“Oh thanks guys, that will be just great; now I can have it finished before dark. She was grateful for having such wonderful friends.”

There were lots of feathers, moss and twigs in the basket and Tilly had put a tasty snack in for Lucie Lou which made her smile. She ate the snack hungrily and set to work.

It was several hours before Lucie’s nest was complete and she looked at it with pride and decided that it was the cosiest nest she’d ever made. She climbed inside and snuggled down, quickly drifting off to sleep.

It had been a long day for Lucie Lou but a good one, especially for the stray duck who now had a lovely new nest.

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