Your Speculum is Showing

My wife laughed in disbelief when I told her that I came back from the park with speculum pictures. She experienced speculums in the offices of gynecologists. Not usually something you see in a park.

Google reports these definitions of speculum:

  1. MEDICINE: a metal or plastic instrument that is used to dilate an orifice or canal in the body to allow inspection.
  2. ORNITHOLOGY: a bright patch of plumage on the wings of certain birds, especially a strip of metallic sheen on the secondary flight feathers of many ducks.

You don’t usually see this bright blue patch on a mallard’s coat. They keep their outer wing feathers over it. This day, for whatever reason, both the female and the male showed their speculum. The male’s looked somewhat darker, almost black, but in brighter sunlight it would have shaded more blue.

Mallard female with speculum exposed (Anas platyrhynchos)
Mallard male with speculum exposed (Anas platyrhynchos)
Mallard female preening with speculum exposed (Anas platyrhynchos)

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