Animal of the Month
Ten Things You Should Know About … Ducks
- Ducks travel long distances – sometimes thousands of miles – every year to breed. They usually travel to warmer areas where they can rest and raise their young. They fly in formation for protection and to reduce air resistance, and they can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour!
- Ducks can be found everywhere in the world except Antarctica – it is too cold for them.
- Ducks are related to geese and swans.
- Ducks’ feet are webbed and act like paddles to help ducks swim. Ducks waddle instead of walking because of their webbed feet.
- Ducks do not have blood vessels or nerves in their feet, which means their feet can’t feel the cold, even when they’re swimming through icy cold water.
- Ducks use vocalisations and body language to communicate. Researchers at Middlesex University reported that ducks even have regional accents, just like humans! These scientists found that city ducks have more of a “shouting” quack so that other ducks can hear them above the hustle and bustle, while country ducks have softer, smoother voices.
- Ducks are farmed for foie gras and meat. Farmed ducks spend their lives in cramped, dark sheds, where they are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them – they aren’t ever given the chance to take a swim, feel the sun on their backs, breathe fresh air or raise a family.
- Ducks are social, outgoing animals who feel most at ease when in a larger “paddling”, which is what a group of ducks is called.
- Duck shooting season begins on 1 September and goes until 20 February. Twelve species of geese and ducks can be shot during open season, including mallards, tufted ducks and pintails.
- Ducks are meticulously clean animals who keep their nests free of waste and debris. They enjoy preening their feathers and flaunting their beautiful plumage.