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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Duck mum moves in with Jens

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg routinely invites visiting VIPs to his home in downtown Oslo. One recent visitor has made bigger headlines than most, though: A female duck has settled on Stoltenberg’s veranda and laid nine eggs there.

Jens Stoltenberg with his feathered tenant. Although there is a glass casserole in the picture, he insisted that he has no plans to eat his guest. PHOTO: Statsministerens kontor

Stoltenberg broke the news himself by posting photos of his new feathered friend on his Facebook page. He has also posted updates. In the meantime, the lady duck has mingled with some of Stoltenberg’s other recent guests, like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Serbia’s president Boris Tadic and two former South African presidents, Fredrik De Klerk and Thabo Mbeki.

The newly built prime minister’s residence lies across the street from the royal palace park, home to large numbers of ducks and other birds. In an interview on national TV on Friday, Stoltenberg insisted that the duck will have to return to the park when her offspring are well-hatched and old enough to walk.

According to local bird experts at Norsk Ornitologisk Forening who were consulted by the prime minister’s office, ducks instinctively head for water when their babies are born, and the royal pond is the nearest one. Adequate escort will be provided for the duck family, Stoltenberg promised.

The news has lured legions of visitors to Jens Stoltenberg’s Facebook page, with more than 100.000 clicking its “like”-button. (Please click our “like” button too!)

Norway’s prime minister invited visitors to suggest a name for the duck and vote on the issue. The Norwegian word for duck is “and,” a handy little word that allows for plenty of plays on words. Among entries were JaglAND, an ironic reference to Stoltenberg’s former rival within the Labour Party. Several also suggested PropagANDa. Of course, Lame Duck was also among the candidates. The winner, however, turned out to be an even more obvious one: Veranda.
Video from NRK (in Norwegian, external link)

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