ROCK ISLAND, IL—Explaining that his frequent visits to the creatures helped give him a much-needed sense of perspective in his old age, Louis Ross, 78, confirmed Wednesday that he fought feelings of loneliness by visiting the families of ducks at his local pond and savagely pelting them with rocks. “It’s so calm out here, so quiet, and that really puts my mind at ease,” said Ross, recounting his daily ritual of sitting down at his favorite bench by the water and trying to hit as many ducks as possible until either the sun goes down or he runs out of rocks. “I’ve been coming here so often that the ducks know it’s me as soon as I arrive. You form such a special relationship with a flock of animals when you see the terror move from bird to bird. You even start recognizing the looks in their eyes. I try to give equal attention to all of them, but I have to admit I do have a favorite. See that one with the notch in his beak? I gave him that. Felt a bond with him ever since. I always try to nail him with the biggest rock. Feels like I owe it to him.” At press time, Ross was elated to learn that several of the ducks had recently hatched another few dozen ducklings.