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Unexpected stargazer finds new home

Hello neighbor.

You’ve heard the saying, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

Well, this time it actually was a duck.

The little guy, a common merganser to be precise, joined a crowd of people watching the filming of “The Judge” in the center of Millers Falls a week ago.

Our neighbor Robert Hunter of Gill, who was one of the police officers directing traffic there that day, said his wife found the duckling in the middle of the crowd that had gathered to star gaze. She picked it up and took it home so that it wouldn’t get stepped on, because she saw no signs of its mother or siblings.

Bob and his wife raise ducks, chickens, guinea hens and goats on their property, but when they got it home, they realized it wasn’t the kind of duck they raise. They soon found out it was a merganser.

“It was, by far, the cutest thing,” Bob told me.

The common merganser is a large duck that eats fish and nests in the holes of trees along rivers and lakes. I’ve seen many of them on the Quabbin and, I have to say, they are beautiful. I so love watching them swim back and forth along the shores.

Bob called Nancy Bordewieck in Bernardston, who is a federal- and state-registered wildlife rehabilitator. She takes in injured wild mammals and birds.

Nancy told me that soon after mergansers hatch, they jump out of their tree and move on with their family.

“They are similar to wood ducks,” Nancy told me. “This one might have hatched last and mom and siblings had already gone.”

Nancy said she sent Iron Duck — she named it in honor of Robert Downey Jr. who stars in “The Judge” and plays Iron Man in the movies with the same name — on to a rehabilitator who is raising other mergansers.

“They are a flock bird,” she told me. “I knew he’d be happier with his own kind. He’s doing really well now.”

Nancy said she received Iron Duck, who had just hatched, last Friday and sent him on to his new home on Monday.

“I had to syringe feed him every two hours through the weekend, but he did very well,” she said.

Just another example of the wonderful people we call neighbors.

OUR NEIGHBOR AL BENJAMIN wants to remind us that every Tuesday in July (the 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th), the Greenfield Military Band will perform in the Greenfield Energy Park from 7 to 8 p.m.

So, bring a blanket or chair, a picnic supper, and go listen to some great show tunes, marches, and patriotic music.

The concerts are free and open to the public. Donations are accepted, but not required. The band will pass the hat at some point during its performance.

Al promises it’s a “fun time” and says people really seem to enjoy it.

He is also encouraging all of you musicians out there to think about joining the band. If you’re considering it, call Al at 978-249-8296.

THE JURASSIC ROAD SHOW will be at Greenfield Savings Bank on Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and I’m told its bigger and better than ever.

Discoveries that were made right here in the Connecticut River Valley will be on display, including all sorts of fossils and dinosaur skeletons.

KEMP-McCARTHY MUSEUM IN ROWE will hold an event on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

There will be four new exhibits: “Childhood Memories,” featuring antique games, toys and children’s clothing, “Antique Ladies Hats,” showing a large collection of recently refurbished hats, “The Way We Were: Memories of 1963,” the year the museum opened, and “Antique Clothing in Cotton, Muslin and Lace,” showcasing the museum’s newly laundered collection of garments from the 1800s to 1920.

I’m told there will be a dessert buffet, with sweets prepared by Rowe’s best bakers and Rep. Paul Mark will be among the Rowe Historical Society’s special guests.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 413-339-4238 or visit:

THE GREENFIELD GARDEN CLUB will hold its 21st Annual Garden Tour, a self-guided tour of nine of the area’s finest gardens, on July 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available at Trap Plain on the corner of Silver and Federal streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day — just look for the tent. The cost is $12 per person. The rain date is July 7.

You will find perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables on your tour. There will also be gardens that attract pollinators, as well as water and stone gardens.

Complimentary refreshments will be served and there will be a drawing featuring a moss garden, gift basket and more.

Sounds like a good time, especially for those of you who have green thumbs, or for those of you who, like me, wish you did.

HOSPICE VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED IN GREENFIELD and throughout Franklin County. Volunteers provide companionship, respite care, and support to hospice patients and their families, whether it’s reading to patients, watching movies with them, playing cards, walking their dogs, fixing them a meal, gardening, supporting family members, sitting with patients who are actively dying, or making bereavement calls.

Volunteers visit hospice patients in their homes and in nursing homes. Full training and ongoing support is provided by Hospice.

For more information, call Susan Fuller at 508-434-2200.

I’m sure even the smallest gesture means more to a hospice patient than any of us will ever know.

DAKIN PIONEER VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY has told me it received a $3,000 grant from Xeric Foundation to support its Pet Food Aid programs, which began in 2007, when Dakin partnered with more than a dozen senior centers and survival centers in Hampshire and Franklin counties to provide food to low-income families, people facing emergencies, and our seniors, who sometimes can barely afford to feed themselves, but want to keep their furry companions.

I want to send a shout-out to Dakin, as I do so many times, for taking care of our four-legged neighbors, and their humans.

JUST WANTED TO ALERT YOU that Monday is National Thank a Postal Worker Day, so here’s an early shout-out from me to all postal workers in Franklin County.

You do a great job!

I’VE HEARD FROM A COUPLE OF PEOPLE ON HOPE STREET in Greenfield who would like to ask those of you traveling by way of Hope Street to slow down. There are children playing along the street throughout the day and pets crossing the street. Some of the owners of lost pets have been known to put white crosses in the yards to illustrate their frustrations.

Please think about your speed when driving along any Franklin County street. Our children and our pets deserve your consideration.

NORMAN WELLS WROTE to The Recorder last week with a request for you. He is trying to trace relatives of the late Glendon P. Overing, who was a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, as well as the post-war Air Force. He believes he lived in Orange.

A new road near Sudbury has been named in honor of Overing and Norman would love to be able to pass on more details about the road to any of the colonel’s relatives still living in Franklin County. He would also like to learn more about him.

If you want or have information, contact Norman at:

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or her cell at 413-388-6950. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: or up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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