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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What Did Regency People Name Their Pet Ducks?

In my Regency comedy romance, An Inheritance for the Birds, the "birds" in the title are mallard ducks.

Why ducks? Well, I like ducks. They're very pretty birds and they're large enough to see easily. I selected mallards because they're the most widespread ducks in the northern hemisphere and would be common in Regency England. Also, I feel sorry for them. We take mallards for granted because they're all over, but they're among the best looking of the ducks. And I like their "quack".

An Inheritance for the Birds is a variation on the theme of the elderly lady willing her possessions to her cats. Duck nut that I am, I substituted ducks. In my twist on the story, the hero and heroine must compete to win an inheritance. Their task: make the deceased lady's pet ducks happy.

There are fourteen ducks in the story.

The drakes are:
Thaddeus, Theodore, Ulrick, Busick, Bamber, Obadiah, Ethelred and Alwyne

The hens are:
Felizarda, Albina, Esmeralda, Horatia, Urania and Dulcibella

Note that there are eight drakes and six hens. Among the brightly colored ducks in the wild, the spectacular-looking drakes are more plentiful than the drab brown hens. Just think, all those avian hotties competing for the erstwhile hens' attention. A female heaven.

I took most of the names from Regency historical romance author Jo Beverley's list of names common in the Georgian and Regency eras ( The names may have been common then, but they sound a little odd to our ears.

To introduce the ducks a little more, Ulrick and Urania are mates, Thaddeus and Theodore are brothers, and the heroine beans Felizarda with a piece of bread (accidentally, of course) when she feeds them.

The duck stars are Obadiah, who likes the hero, and Esmeralda, who doesn't. The others add their quacking chorus to the comedy.

I love my ducks. What do you think of the names I selected?

An Inheritance for the Birds, available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks and other places where ebooks are sold. .


Donna Hatch, Regency Romance Author said...

I love the names you found--they do sound so deliciously British. I have a thing for ducks too. When I was a little girl, we had two pet mallards, a male and a female, and they had lots of personality. They grew up to hatch a bunch of cute, fluffy little yellow ducklings. So fun!

Linda Banche said...

Hi Donna. I found most of the names on Jo Beverley's site, so they're certainly British.

I knew I wasn't the only duck nut out there. And ducklings are so cute! Lucky you.

catslady said...

I do like them but some are strange to me. I am really laughing about her beaning the duck with bread. I put bread out for various critters and a couple of weeks ago I accidently beaned one of my outside strays - now I have taken care of this cat for almost 15 years - but at the moment she is running from me because of the bread incident!!!

Linda Banche said...

catslady, that's funny about your hitting the cat with the bread. But you're not the only one. My aim isn't very good, and if there's a wind, it's even worse.

I've hit more than one duck on the head with bread. They jump, and then, if the bird is fast enough, it eats the bread. The bread I've thrown has also landed on a duck's back. Another duck grabs it, biting the first duck. The first one whips around to bite the second duck back.