If you’ve taken an Admissions tour of the Wheaton campus, the tour guide likely informed you that Wheaton’s official mascot is the Lyon (like a normal lion, but spelled a little differently). So it’s natural to think that parents and prospective students believe that the “Lyon” is the animal with which we (the student body) all identify and have come to love throughout our time here. But it isn’t until one actually attends Wheaton and becomes a part of the community that one truly understands that a more accurate critter-like embodiment of the Wheaton community is . . . Cowduck.
Nine times out of ten, the answers to the questions, “Do you know who Cowduck is?” and, “Do you consider her a part of the Wheaton community?” will be “yes.”
Now, for the few of you who don’t know Cowduck, she is the large black and white bird living in and around Peacock Pond. Her typical perch is on the rocks close to the bridge, but in the frozen months she moves to several other locales. She prunes herself throughout the day and is always a beauty to look at. She has been a part of the Wheaton community for a long while, and probably will not be going anywhere anytime soon!
But the Wheaton community was blessed with a surprise after winter break. There is a new addition to the Peacock Pond crew of ducks (besides the Canadian Geese, that is), who has become known as Cowduckling. Everyone who walks by the pond now sees Cowduck and also Cowduckling. When walking over the bridge, or around the pond it is hard to miss the comments: “Oh, isn’t Cowduckling so cute!” “Cowduckling is just the cutest!” “Cowduckling is the best!”
She is very full of life. She (he?) sits on the pond, floating around, seeing all there is around her and the world passing by. Cowduckling is curious and intriguing, always the inquisitive one. Her ability to dive down beneath the surface of Peacock Pond for extended periods of time is fascinating to watch, though scary for those viewing it for the first time.
It has recently been revealed that “Cowduckling” is likely a Hooded Merganser, which explains the bird’s diving ability. And yet s/he will still enter the campus vernacular as “Cowduckling”; so if you haven’t said “hi” to the newest member of the campus community, please do. I know Cowduckling will appreciate it, and maybe say “hi” back!