augury doggerel

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Ducks and Drakes

A spring couple, Mr and Mrs Mallard, has just glided past the window and down for the pond. Ducks come back, quack and all. And what are they up to? Well:

Prior to the act of mating, both birds perform a vertical pumping motion with their heads, followed by the hen flattening herself on the water in the "soliciting position," indicating that she is receptive. After mating, the drake swims around her before they retire to a nearby area to bathe and preen.

But notice how the squeamish author skips directly from "prior to the act of mating" to "after mating" without mentioning what happens in between. Those mallard girls are up to much more than the fact sheets let on.


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