Dabbling Together

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchosI

Mallards form monogamous pairs before the spring breeding season. This pair, dabbling together in the brackish water just below the outfall of Schoolhouse Creek, looks like a Norman Rockwell painting of feathered togetherness. They will very likely put a nest together and produce a brood. But it would be a mistake to overgeneralize from this idyllic image. The Mallard is a problem bird. It has aced the evolutionary test of adaptation to environment by adapting to just about any environment whatever, from the Arctic tundra to the semi-tropical backyard swimming pool. Suburban sprawl, the death knell of many other bird species, only makes the Mallard’s life easier, populating its habitat with humans who feed it handouts. The Mallard not only thrives in diverse settings, it mates with and wipes out the native duck populations that have specialized there. The Mallard has a unique polymorphous DNA that allows it to hybridize and produce fertile offspring with more than 60 other duck species. This is not always by consent. The male Mallard, in particular, tends to be sexually aggressive. According to the Wikipedia writers,

The drakes that end up being left out after the others have paired off with mating partners sometimes target an isolated female duck, even one of a different species, and proceed to chase and peck at her until she weakens, at which point the males take turns copulating with the female.[86] Lebret (1961) calls this behaviour “Attempted Rape Flight”, and Stanley Cramp and K.E.L. Simmons (1977) speak of “rape-intent flights”.[86] Male mallards also occasionally chase other male ducks of a different species, and even each other, in the same way.[86] In one documented case of “homosexual necrophilia”, a male mallard copulated with another male he was chasing after the chased male died upon flying into a glass window.[86]

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchosI

More about them: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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One thought on “Dabbling Together

  • Jesus Christ! that’s crazy! does this prove that testosterone kills in any species? yikes! those poor females! Then need to band together and take self-defense classes!

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