Animal Profile: Ducks – A Lot to Quack About


December 18, 2012

Care of Bonnie Shulman

Pekin duck by Bonnie Shulman.
These ducks
are farmed for their
eggs and meat. But how could you eat
a creature so beautiful?

It’s hard to know where to begin when I write about ducks, because ducks are my personal obsession. On my flickr site I have thousands of pictures of ducks. Here in Toronto we are blessed to have many types of ducks either living here permanently or dropping by on their travels.

Put simply, there are two types of ducks: The first, diving ducks, forage deep underwater for food. The smallest of the ducks, buffleheads, are divers and can be seen in spring and fall in Toronto.

Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water or on land, or by up-ending without completely submerging. The vast mallard population is Toronto’s prime example of a dabbler, and in the fall we are graced with the dabbling Northern Shovelers, easily identified by their massive schnozzes!

What I love about ducks is their sheer, incomparable beauty. Their colours and feather patterns provide me with endless fascination. To me, each duck is a work of art. Having spent countless hours sitting with ducks and watching their behaviour, I can assure you that ducks have their own unique personalities, and life on the duck pond is one unending soap opera.

Canada is not kind to ducks. We have factories that engage in the violent force-feeding of ducks to produce a fatty liver that some regard as a delicacy, foie gras. Factory ducks live in abject misery: gasping for breath and choking on blood and regurgitated food are just two of the debilitating effects of being force fed up to a third of their own body weight daily. Click here to find out more about foie gras, and join in the fight against this abominable cruelty.

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