Sunday, April 27, 2008
I've never been completely convinced that Wood Ducks were real birds. There was a small flock of them at the Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland, mixed in with a zillion mallards, Canada Geese, Buffleheads (very shy) and Cinnamon Teal. Those are all unquestionably birds, with their occasional splashes of color all looking their best at this time of the year. Wood Ducks, though, don't have any clear relationship to the rest. They peep, for one thing, rather than quack or squawk, which is suspicious on the face of it. But the main thing is the males, like this one. How could a color scheme like that (with big fake red eyes!) possibly evolve? It seems far more likely to me that there are sweatshops somewhere in Asia cranking out Wood Duck robots and hand painting them in this ridiculous outfit. The peeping is just the product of bad robotic programming and now they're stuck with it. If Wood Ducks began quacking like real ducks, people would be suspicious and might try to eat one. Good luck with that.