Duck Sum Upping Tradition / Ritual in Dark-Fall | World Anvil

Duck Sum Upping

A Counting of Ducks

The Ducks Sum Upping is an annual event which takes place in many different parts in Ashilder on the same day. The tradition emerged from a period of time when the Secki Ducks were overhunted and became an endangered species. Therefore, Duck Sum Upping is at its core, a conservation effort which morphed into a well-beloved and well-known tradition.   The Secki Ducks are very important to the people of mid-Dysvoll, especially for the nation of Ashilder, both as a national symbol, but also as a food source.  
The Duck Sum Upping is an important national event that takes place every year to ensure the continued survival of our Secki Ducks.   Please refrain from scaring the ducks near any of the counting spots, so they will return every year. This makes the counting easier.
— Ashildan Duck Ministry
Related Organizations
Related Ethnicities
Annually, end of summer
Before the ducks migrate south during the winter months.   Related Species
Secki Ducks   Duck Councils
Vatnsil Duck Council
- Spokesperson: Emmery Anka

History of the Duck Sum Upping

  The Duck Sum Upping has happening annually for over fifty years and usually takes place during the end of summer. The Ducks migrate further south during the cold months, sometimes they fly off during the autumn months and therefore the annual duck count takes place during summer.   The official Ashildan Duck Ministry will announce the official date for every year's Duck Sum Upping at least one week in advance. There are 10 official duck counting spots. One of those are near the Esir River, and this spot is officially counted by the Vatnsil Duck Council.
I hope to be on next year's Duck Sum Upping Council, maybe as the scribe. I'd love to note down everything so the Ministry can improve the guidelines even more!
— Duck Enthusiast
Secki Duck in pond
by Ninne124

On the day of the counting

The Duck Sum Upping has pretty specific guidelines set in place by the Ashildan Duck Ministry. These guidelines are updated whenever it's relevant, usually due to new information about duck behaviour or experience from earlier years of duck counting.  
Each area's elected duck counting group will go to their designated counting spot at daybreak. The group will stay there until sundown, either staying in a camp they set up ahead of time or hiding in the wilderness, so they don't disturb the ducks.   This is to ensure that they don't end up conditioning the ducks to go to other areas. The ducks are somewhat used to humans in some parts of Ashilder, so some Duck Councils don't need to be as stealthy.   The Duck Council will count the ducks hourly from sun up to sun down.
At least three people are required to count the same group of ducks, and an average of the counted ducks will be written down along with the time of the counting.   The scribe of the group will record all notable happenings, including temperature, windspeeds and any eventual downpour.   Any variables that are known to influence the amount of ducks at the counting place will also be written down.   These variables are listed in the information pamphlet sent out be the Ashildan Duck Ministry.
If the ducks fly away from the area due to some disturbance, the time of the disturbance is written down along with the number of remaining ducks. The scribe writes this information down so these instances aren't accidentally seen as a sign that the ducks are once again endangered.  

Public Reception

The annual Duck Sum Upping has become famous throughout Ashilder and also in certain neighbouring areas. The public absolutely adores the ducks and the conservation efforts are met with support from most people. Some local communities get more involved in the tradition than others.  

Duck Festival

The town of Vatnsil is known to be one of the most involved towns when it comes to Duck Sum Upping. An important aspect of the day is to not scare away the ducks. It's very bothersome, if not just downright impossible to count the ducks of they've flown off.   Therefore, Vatnsil makes sure that the entire local community and any potential visitors are very aware of the annual event and the rules and guidelines surrounding the Duck Sum Upping.   It is customary for the town to decorate the main streets with big banners and colourful flags, which generally resembles the festivals they host. Furthermore, many posters are put up, both to promote the festival, but also to inform people of what not to do.

Duck Merchandise

Due to the event becoming sort of a festival in certain regions, there was a rise in demand for food and duck themed items.   Especially popular items include Duck Canes, mugs and woodcuttings of ducks. Popular food items include Duck shaped pastries and Duck Buns.  

Sponsoring the council

Most of the duck themed vendors and stands in town either give money or sponsor equipment for the duck council.   Items sponsered by the earnings include tents, binoculars, writing utensils and notebooks.
The Duck Sum Upping has become one of our favourite celebrations here in town. We all care very much about it and do our part to support the council in their work!   My grandchild is currently the spokesperson for the council and I couldn't be prouder.
— Citizen of Vatnsil

Punishment for Duck Disturbers

The Duck Sum Upping has drawn interest from many places and people, and the areas and towns that participated have seen a spike in visitors around the time of the duck counting. This has sometimes led to issues, where groups of ill-informed or disrespectful outsiders decide to go to the duck counting spots and end up scaring away the ducks.

Duck fines or Jail

Vatnsil has set up laws and rules surrounding the duck sum upping, so in this counting area, this behaviour is usually met with a fine. The fine may become larger if it's clear that the people frightened the ducks on purpose.   This sort of behaviour is heavily frowned upon by the citizens of Vatnsil, and especially rude offendors might spend the night in the local holding cells so they can't disturb the duck council the rest of the counting day.   Most people who have gotten in trouble of Duck Disturbances are tourists but a few local kids have also gotten in trouble.
Guidelines for the annual Vatnsil Duck Sum Upping
  Next week, we will once again count the beloved Secki Ducks to ensure their survival. To esnure a succesful counting, there are some rules that must be followed.  
  • Do not leave the town unless you are a part of the duck counting council or have gotten specific permission.
  • Do not scare any ducks you, neither in town or outside of town. This may deter them from returning.
  • Do not feed the ducks in town, this may draw them away from the counting areas.
— Flyer from the Vatnsil Duck Council

Cover image: by Ninne124


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Dec 24, 2023 14:37 by Mochi

As someone who is passionate about conservation, I very much approve of this tradition <3

I hope you have a great day!   Explore the endless planets brimming with life of the Yonderverse! Go after creatures, discover new places, and learn about the people you find along the way.   Check out my plans for Summer Camp!
Dec 24, 2023 14:39

Wonderful! I love that this tradition is right up your alley. Maybe you'd volunteer to go with the duck counting council?? xD

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Dec 24, 2023 22:41 by Mochi

oh I definitely would! xD

I hope you have a great day!   Explore the endless planets brimming with life of the Yonderverse! Go after creatures, discover new places, and learn about the people you find along the way.   Check out my plans for Summer Camp!
Dec 24, 2023 14:41

My workplace participated in a bird counting day once... Love the conservation effort and tradition! :D

Dec 28, 2023 18:26

That sounds wonderful :3   Thank you for the comment!

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Dec 24, 2023 14:57 by Sailing Ocelot

What a cute article! It reminds me of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch that takes place in the UK, and I'm aware there are other similar events around the world too! The images support your article so nicely and it gives me joy that there are several duck councils.   I wanna be a member of the duck council too!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
Dec 28, 2023 18:27

Thank you so much!   I was researching rivers and came across the swan tradition along the river Thames and I immediately felt inspiration strike ^-^

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Dec 24, 2023 21:14 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I want to be a member of the duck council and help count the ducks! Yay for conservation! :D

Dec 28, 2023 18:28

That can be arranged :p   If you're serious, I can make the head of the duck council in Vatnsil a duck-enthusiast called Emmery perhaps? :3

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Dec 28, 2023 18:44 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I would be honoured. <3

Dec 28, 2023 19:39

Then it shall be!   Any specific traits you might want included? ^-^

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Dec 28, 2023 19:44 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Aw, thanks. <3 No, you go wild. :)

Dec 28, 2023 08:35 by Tillerz


Dec 28, 2023 18:28

DUCKS!!! ^-^

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3