Posted in Anseriformes, Birding, Ducks


An empty plastic bag dangled from his hand, the last moistened morsel fell to the ground and was readily consumed by a long yellow bill. Their appetites remained insatiable. Each quack seemed to say ‘Feed us more. Quack, more. Quack more!’

Mimic hurried back into the car, his shoes met the floor mat with a muddying squish. Snowfeather followed soon after and quickly closed the door. “My hands are freezing,” she said.

“Would you like to borrow my gloves?” replied Hawkeye.

My camera, untrained upon the waddling beasts outside, clicked once more. The captured image displayed briefly. “I’m having trouble focusing.”

“Too may ducks? Too much commotion?” Mimic asked.

“No, I just don’t know how to use this camera. It takes a long time to focus. I think I’m going to have to do this manually.” I flipped a switch on the side the lens and quickly refocused on a brown and white bird. “What kind of duck is that?”

Pekin around the pond.

“That’s a mallard.”

“The one right there? I thought mallards had a bright green head.”

“They do.” Mimic spotted the same duck. “It’s a pekin.”

“It’s peeking at what?”

“Not peeking,” Mimic continued matter-of-factly. “It’s a pekin duck.”

What’s a Mallard?

“Peking Duck? I thought that was a Chinese dish?”

Mimic could take no more mindless chatter and at last spoke plainly. “A pekin is a breed of mallard.”

“The white ones are called pekins,” Snowfeather said softly.

“What are the ones with the green head called?”


I sensed this was going to take a little more dissection of terms, perhaps some etymology was in order. I decided to begin again, this time with a simple, single question. And this time I addressed Hawkeye, the word expert. “What’s a mallard?”

“Nothing,“ she said smiling. “What’s a matter with you?”


I'm a bird on a wire.