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Ducks in Love

Cole Porter summed it up. “Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it.”

Yes, February is the season of love, for humans and wildlife alike. The bees and fleas might be a little chilly this time of year but birds are already billing and cooing. This weekend visitors to the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy will be able to share in these blissful romances during a “Ducks in Love Waterfowl Walk.”

They can experience a King Eider's cooing calls, the bufflehead's bob, the conjugal felicity of Mandarin ducks, deemed by the Chinese to be exemplars of fidelity, and more.

The walk will be held Saturday, February 20, starting at 1PM at the Conservancy, 55 Duck Pond Road, Litchfield. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.

The conservancy is currently closed to the public for other visits but reopens April 1 for Saturday and Sunday visits from10AM to 4PM. Admission for non-members is $15 for adults (older than 15); $8 for seniors older than 65, and $5 for children ages 4-14.

Guests can walk the grounds at their leisure and enjoy the diversity of waterfowl on display. Information panels provide identifications of each species and Conservancy staff and volunteers are available to answer questions.

The Conservancy grew out of the work of ornithologist and conservationist S. Dillon Ripley, who began building an internationally known collection of waterfowl in Litchfield in the 1920s. Dr. Ripley and his wife, Mary Livingston Ripley, created the Kilvarock Foundation in 1985, a non-profit foundation dedicated to captive waterfowl conservation. This evolved into the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary. In 2007, the name was changed to the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy to reflect changes to the organization’s mission.